Indian conglomerate GVK plans to rehabilitate the thousands of slums around the new integrated state-of-the-art Terminal 2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.
“Our next big project is to rehabilitate the slums around the airport. This is a very important project as it will ensure the safe operations of the airport,” G.V.K. Reddy, CMD, GVK, and Executive Chairman, Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd, said in his opening remarks at the inaugural ceremony.
Dr. Reddy hoped that the Maharashtra government would offer assistance to this project just as it had during the development of T2.
The proposed rehabilitation of the nearly one lakh slums on airport land is an old one and GVK, which had in the recent past taken up the project as part of the airport modernisation, has made little progress. This is because while the Maharashtra government approved the interim airport modernisation plan, it reportedly left out slum pockets on some 200 acres from redevelopment.
It is significant that GVK Reddy mentioned the slum rehabilitation project towards the end of his speech and in the presence of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, and other state and central ministers who attended the ceremony.
Rehabilitation of slums is crucial to GVK’s plans to modernise CSIA and earn revenue from development of real estate around the airport. In this context, it is also significant that GVK SkyCity is proposed as an integrated mixed-use project with a development potential of approximately 2 million sq. metres. It will be connected to key roads and areas around the airport including SEEPZ and Mumbai Metro.
In May 2006, Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between the GVK-led consortium and Airports Authority of India, received the mandate to modernise, upgrade and expand the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport which caters to over 30 million passengers and 0.6 million tonnes of cargo annually.
The new integrated Terminal 2 is an “iconic mega structure” whose design and architecture was inspired by the peacock, India’s national bird. It measures 4.4 million sq. ft area and will have the capacity to handle 40 million passengers annually. The multi-level car park can accommodate 5,200 cars. T2 is India’s only vertical airport terminal and hosts the country’s largest public art programme titled Jaya He. It showcases the depth and beauty of Indian art in the form of a 3-km multistory Art Wall, illuminated by skylights, that has over 7,000 artworks and artefacts from across the country.
A key feature of T2 is the dedicated six-lane, 3.2-km elevated expressway that will cut travel time from the domestic airport on Western Express Highway by 20 minutes. Besides, T2 was built without hindering operations at the existing airport.
Although Terminal 2 was inaugurated on January 10, it will commence international operations from February 12, 2014, after undergoing a comprehensive security sweep as well as ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer).