22 November 2010
Plans for a second airport in Mumbai have been approved. The new terminal will be built on a site just over an hour's drive from the city centre. The Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh insisted the development is environmentally friendly.
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For many years it's been a battleground between environmentalists and developers. But finally Navi or New Mumbai has officially been confirmed as the location for Mumbai's second airport. Announcing his ministry's support for the development, the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said authorities had already met 32 ecological conditions.
The government blocked the diversion of a local river and also sought agreement from developers that nearby mangroves will not be destroyed. But in other ways, the ministry has softened its stance. It's given authorities the all-clear to level a 90 metre-high hill for the construction of two parallel runways. Mr Ramesh insisted that the development needed to be environmentally friendly, ecologically sound and energy efficient. Areas like Navi Mumbai, he said, had to be protected as the green lungs of India's financial capital.
Once it's completed, the authorities hope the new airport will ease air traffic congestion and entice more people to do business in the Navi Mumbai area. Local reports say the airport will take four years to build and by 2030 it will be able to handle 40 million passengers a year.
Nidhi Dutt, BBC News, Mumbai
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people who want to improve and protect the natural environment
people or businesses that buy land or construct buildings, trying to make profit
- ecological conditions
rules that try to protect the environment
trees that grow along coasts or river banks in hot countries
- softened its stance
became more sympathetic in its attitude
strips of land with hard surfaces which aeroplanes take off from and land on
- the green lungs
parks and outdoor spaces, which help to balance out or fight against pollution
- air traffic congestion
crowding due to large numbers of planes flying, taking off, or landing
- to handle
to manage or deal with