Centre assures HC on completion of consultation process of MIHAN

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Nagpur, Dec 11 (UNI) The Centre has assured the High Court here that the process of inter-ministerial consultation on the proposed transfer of the city airport to the ambitious Multi-Modal International Air Passenger and Cargo Hub at Nagpur (MIHAN) project is likely to be completed within four weeks.

The assurance came from counsel for the government, Additional Solicitor General Amrinder Sharan, during a hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) on the transfer of the airport, before a Division Bench consisting of Justices Dilip Sinha and Vasanti Naik at the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court.

Mr Sharan said once the process of consultation was completed, the proposal for the transfer of the airport would be placed before the Cabinet for approval. However, no timeframe could be indicated for receiving the approval of the Cabinet, he said.

The Centre was seized of the matter and had initiated the process necessary for the transfer of the airport, Mr Sharan said, adding that the Central government was committed to the completion of the MIHAN project in the city.

Nearly 379 hectares of land of Nagpur airport will be handed for the MIHAN project, which will also include a special economic zone (SEZ). The project itself will be located over 1,300 hectares of land.

The airport will be handed over to a joint venture company, with equity participation from the Maharashtra government and Airports Authority of India (AAI), for being developed as part of MIHAN.

The PIL has been filed by Vidarbha Jankalyan Wa Vikas Sanstha, a voluntary organisation, seeking the court's directives to the Union Government to set a timeframe for the transfer of the airport.

At an earlier hearing on October 10, Mr Sharan had assured the court that the airport would be transferred within eight weeks to MIHAN. However, at a hearing before that, on August 29, the Union Government had filed an affidavit saying that no timeframe could be indicated for the transfer of the airport.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had, in the affidavit, said the transfer needed the Union Cabinet's approval and hence the government had already initiated the consultation process, which involved administrative and financial approval of the ministry concerned, besides seeking views and comments of the Planning Commission and the other ministries concerned. Since, it was purely a policy matter, the court could neither issue any mandamus nor could monitor the pace at which it was required to be formulated or finalised, Mr Sharan had argued before the court.

UNI

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