Mumbai: Stating that the Maharashtra government was committed to build airport at neighbouring Navi Mumbai, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today admitted in the state Legislative Council that there had been a three times cost escalation in this regard.

Chavan, who was replying to Calling Attention Motion moved by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt, said the estimated cost of the project was Rs 4,766 crore. But it increased to Rs 14,573 crore, on account of land acquisition needs and various other cost escalations, he said.

First phase of the project would entail expenditure of Rs 9,000 crore, Chavan said.

As many as six crore people will travel annually through the new airport, the chief minister said.

As the airport was coming up on land covered by mangroves, the government would need to acquire land elsewhere to grow mangroves (to compensate), he said. “Until 291 hectares of land is acquired, construction of airport cannot start,” Chavan said.

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