Raigad (Maharashtra): Having placed orders for over 900 aircraft in the past one year, the aviation sector is poised for a huge growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Sunday. Presently, there are 450 aircraft operating in the country, but that number will more than triple in the next few years.
“Aviation sector worldwide is moving very fast… we cannot afford to lag. For 70 years, there was no aviation policy, which we have introduced to provide all-round connectivity to the remotest corners at affordable rates,” Modi said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) and inauguration of the country’s largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, built at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore.
The NMIA will be the second international aviation hub for Mumbai, currently served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which only operates two runways and has reached a saturation point. It will also be India’s first Greenfield Airport project. ‘‘We want people wearing ‘hawai-chappal’ to be able to fly in a ‘hawai-jahaz’… the aviation sector has huge potential of giving over three-and-a-half time return. On an investment of Rs 100, we can get a return of Rs 350 in a period of time by boosting trade and commerce, movement of people, tourism and all-round development,” he said.
Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and Ramdas Athawale, state ministers and other senior officials were present on the occasion. Referring to ports, Modi said the country needs world-class infrastructure. “We are working on ‘port-led’ development and not merely ports development, and have identified over 100 waterways in India for transport which will be cost-effective and eco-friendly,” he said.
He painted a futuristic picture of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai over the next few years with aircraft taking off from the NMIA, cars zooming along the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, connectivity by high-speed Metro Railway network and the proposed gigantic statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj looming on the horizon, off Malabar Hill.
He lamented that there were many projects which were launched or inaugurated and then abandoned; sometimes, they existed merely on paper: this had been the case for over two-three decades. But now, he has implemented the Pragati scheme under which all such projects were dusted, fished out of files, discussed and revived.
The PM also inaugurated the country’s largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, built at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore. The JNPT’s Fourth Container Terminal Phase I was completed in a record time; it will have double the existing capacity and is expected to boost container trade and logistics in a big way. The terminal will be able to dock mother vessels, handle the biggest containers ships from a quay length of one km, handle three container ships simultaneously with sufficient yard space, and cranes which can reach 22 rows wide or more.
PUNE, MUMBAI HYPERLOOP LINK
The Virgin Group on Sunday signed an “intent agreement” with Maharashtra to build a hyper-loop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune, which aims to reduce the travel time between the two mega cities to 20 minutes from the three hours at present.