Bombay High Court defines Jyotiraditya Scindia's first task as aviation minister
The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in this regard by lawyer Filji Frederick
Newly-appointed Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has a number of pressing issues to deal with from reviving demand in the aviation sector, restoring livelihoods and guiding the industry back towards a free market to revamping the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), plugging the gaps in the Regional Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (RCS-UDAN) and making arrangements for priority vaccination of aviation employees. But what should he do first?
The Bombay High Court has, in this regard, come up with an answer. According to the high court, the new team at the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) should focus at the outset on formulating a nationwide policy for the naming and renaming of airports, PTI reported.
"If there is a new policy still in the draft stage, get it done now. You have a new set of ministers now. Let this be the work of the new aviation ministry. It should be the first task of the new aviation minister," the Bombay High Court told Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh on July 9.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in this regard by lawyer Filji Frederick.
The court pointed towards a gathering of local agricultural and fishing communities and some politicians on June 24. The gathering demanded that the upcoming airport at Navi Mumbai be named after parliamentarian DB Patil, who had fought for the rights of the project-affected people. The Maharashtra government and state-run town-planning agency City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had instead proposed to name the airport after Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
The court reminded that it had reprimanded the Maharashtra government for failing to prevent a gathering of nearly 25,000 people in total disregard for Covid norms. The protest rally had choked traffic in parts of Navi Mumbai. The protesters gave the state government a deadline of August 15 to announce the airport's new name, threatening to disrupt construction work at the airport otherwise, The Indian Express reported.
The court noted that while a draft policy was framed in 2016 mandating the naming of airports after cities and not individuals, the current status of the policy is not known. The PIL was posted for further hearing on July 16.
The Navi Mumbai airport, which had already missed several deadlines, is expected to get at least one functional runway by 2023. The foundation stone for the Navi Mumbai airport was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2018. The airport would be located in Mumbai's Kopra-Panvel area and it would make Mumbai the first city in India to have more than one airport.
Expected to be one of the world’s largest greenfield airports, the Rs 16,000-crore Navi Mumbai airport will have two parallel runways of 3,700 metres and full-length taxiways that are 1,550 metres apart. The first phase involves starting one of the two runways.
The airport is envisaged to host new generation planes like the Airbus A380 superjumbo, which is the world's largest jetliner, and also the Boeing 747-8 jumbo jet. According to aviation consultancy firm CAPA, the initial capacity of the Navi Mumbai airport was planned to be 10 million. The airport, to be built in four phases, would have an eventual annual passenger handling capacity of 90 million, Business Standard reported.
The Navi Mumbai airport is to be located approximately 40 km from the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai, 47 km from south Mumbai and about 45 km from the western suburbs of Mumbai. It is to be provided with enhanced connectivity.