Navi Mumbai Airport, Panvel, India

About 3,500 families residing in 10 villages are being displaced to make way for Navi Mumbai Airport. Their long struggle for fair rehabilitation began in 2010 and pre-construction work began in 2017 with many villagers still living on the site.


Approximately 3,500 families residing in 10 villages are being displaced a new airport in Navi Mumbai [1]. They have sustained a long-term struggle for fair rehabilitation [2]. A perfunctory one-hour public hearing held on 5th May 2010 was boycotted by residents of all the affected villages. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not made public and people from the affected villages stood outside waving black flags in protest, demanding due compensation [3]. Pre-construction work on the airport site began in October 2017, even though villagers had not relocated to the resettlement areas. Many are dissatisfied with the rehabilitation and resettlement areas and say that the offers of land and cash sums to build new houses in the designated areas are insufficient to compensate for what they will lose [4].

See more...
Basic Data
NameNavi Mumbai Airport, Panvel, India
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe owner/investor of Navi Mumbai International Airport is the Indian government and Airports Authority India (AAI). A mega-airport is planned, handling 10 million passengers annually upon completion of the first phase, rising to 60 million passengers per year upon commencement of full commercial operations with two 4 kilometre runways, which is scheduled for 2030. If this traffic projection proves accurate Navi Mumbai will be India's busiest airport [21]. The airport core area, allocated for aeronautical activities, is 1,160 hectares of land. In addition to the core airport site, three areas have been earmarked for non-aeronautical activities (airport-linked commercial development such as hotels and retail), taking the total airport area to 2,268 hectares. Three plots of land have been allocated for rehabilitation and resettlement of affected villagers.[23]

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL), has been formed by GVK and City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to execute the airport project [21]. CIDCO, a city planning agency formed by the Maharashtra state government, is responsible for implementing the airport project. GVK, an Indian conglomerate with interests in energy, resources, transport and other sectors, has been awarded the contract to build and operate the airport [24].

Waterlogged and low-lying areas of the site are being raised from 2 metres to 5 metres above sea level [21]. Massive earthworks preparing the site for construction of the airport began in October 2017. Two rivers, Ulwe and Gahdi, are being re-routed. Hills are being blasted away with explosives, the soil and stones being utilized for filling in and levelling the site [25]. The height of Ulwe hill is being reduced from 90 metres to 10 metres. Vast volumes of loose earth and stones will be compacted down to make the site stable enough to withstand airport operations [9]. A high level of state expenditure on pre-construction earthworks was allocated to make the fragile coastal zone sufficiently resilient to withstand the new airport, an estimated US$370 million [26].

Predictions of project cost escalation have proved well founded. By 2017 CIDCO's cost estimate for the project had more than tripled, escalating from a 2013 figure of US$753 million to US$2.5 billion [21]. According to credit rating agency CRISIL by July 2018 the estimated cost of phase one development has escalated to US$1.975 billion, about 50% higher than the previous cost estimate [27]. As of 5 July 2018 1,125 structures in the core airport site had been demolished and almost 60 per cent of affected villagers had yet to be relocated from the area [28]. By 27 July it was reported that about 1,300 affected families had moved away from the site to the resettlement area: Pushpak Nagar [29].
Project Area (in hectares)2,268
Level of Investment (in USD)2,359,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population 3,500 families
Start Date05/05/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesNavi Mumbai International Airport Private Ltd (NMIAL) from India
GVK Power and Infractructure (GVK) from India - GVK will hold a 74% stake in Navi Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (NMIAL)
City Industrial Development Corporation Limited (CIDCO) from India - CIDCO is the nodal government agency for the project and holds a 26% stake in Navi Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (NMIAL), the special purpose vehicle to implement the Navi Mumbai International Airport project
Relevant government actorsNational government of India

Airports Authority of India

Maharashtra State Government

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNavi Mumbai International Airport Affected Peoples

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) -

Vanashakti -

Conservation Action Trust -

Mangrove Society of India -
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBoycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
A small group of women re-opened a school on the site that had been closed down, teaching the children and providing a mid-day meal
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
OtherLoss of biodiverse wildlife habitats - forest, mangroves and mudflats

Impact on bird species and habitats due to risk or bird strikes - collisions with aircraft
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition, Other Health impacts
OtherHealth damage from pollutants emitted by aircraft and road vehicles
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Many affected residents are dissatisfied with the compensation and rehabilitation that they have been offered. By August 2018 only approximately 1,300 of the affected families had accepted the compensation package and left the airport site area.
Sources and Materials

The Plane Truth, Debi Goenka and Gautam S Patel, Economic & Political Weekly, 11 September 2010
[click to view]


[17] Firms shortlisted for Navi Mumbai airport say it will take 6 years to build, Times of India, 5 January 2017
[click to view]

[1] Rehab of 3500 families in core airport area poses challenge for Cidco, Times of India, 7 September 2017
[click to view]

[18] Navi Mumbai airport project: Hundreds stage morcha, say village in danger of flooding, Hindustan Times, 14 February 2018
[click to view]

[10] Land records and proofs allegedly destroyed by CIDCO for Navi Mumbai Airport project, nmtvindia, 15 November 2017
[click to view]

[21] Navi Mumbai International Airport, CAPA, July 2018
[click to view]

[22] Navi Mumbai airport: PIL claims authorities failed to meet conditions before starting project,, 22 February 2018
[click to view]

[7] Stalled Navi Mumbai airport work to restart with police cover, Times of India, 27 October 2017
[click to view]

[19] ‘Airport landfill flooding our village’, The Hindu, 11 July 2018
[click to view]

[2] Navi Mumbai Airport – displacement and destruction, Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM), 24 January 2018
[click to view]

[4] Navi Mumbai airport work halts for a day as villagers protest, Times of India, 13 October 2017
[click to view]

[11] Navi Mumbai Airport will drown nearly 2000 villages under water, nmtvindia, 28 November 2017
[click to view]

[14] Villagers stall Navi Mumbai airport work, The Hindu, 9 January 2018
[click to view]

[9] Five engineers injured at site of Navi Mumbai International Airport while carrying out controlled blasting, DNA India, 6 January 2018
[click to view]

[13] Villagers injured during blasting work at Navi Mumbai airport site want action taken against GVK,, 9 January 2018
[click to view]

[20] A winged territory? Proposed Navi Mumbai airport site is home to 266 bird species, Times of India, 5 June 2016
[click to view]

[3] Navi Mumbai airport: a silent conspiracy, Down to Earth, 7 June 2015
[click to view]

[25] Ulwe hill, river gives way to international airport; CIDCO to videograph for posterity, Yimes of India, 3 May 2017
[click to view]

[26] Bombay Environmental Action group voices concern over destruction due to Navi Mumbai Airport, nmtvindia, 15 December 2017
[click to view]

[8] Talks between CIDCO, PAP deadlocked, The Hindu, 15 October 2015
[click to view]

[12] PAPs takes out protest morcha against blasting at Navi Mumbai Airport site, nmtvindia, 6 January 2018
[click to view]

[16] Navi Mumbai airport may miss 2019 deadline, says civil aviation secretary, Hindustan Times, 11 May 2018
[click to view]

[23] Navi Mumbai airport: 21-year-old-dream set to become true, Times of India 17 February 2017
[click to view]

[24] PM's Navi Mumbai airport event: GVK asks Cidco, JNPT to share cost, The Economic Times, 27 February 2017
[click to view]

[5] Villagers stall Navi Mumbai airport work, The Hindu, 13 October 2017
[click to view]

[15] Ulwe villagers made to vacate homes for two hours daily, The Hindu, 13 January 2018
[click to view]

[29] Navi Mumbai International Airport: Have to wait till end of monsoon for rest of families to shift, says CIDCO, Indian Express, 27 July 2018
[click to view]

[27] Phase 1 of Navi Mumbai airport to cost ₹135.6 bn, The Hindu, 13 July 2018
[click to view]

[28] 60% airport PAPs stay put; netas jump into the fray with promises, Times of India, 5 July 2018
[click to view]

[6] How political turf war helped revive Navi Mumbai airport, Times of India, 29 October 2017
[click to view]

[30] Village women turn teachers to reopen ZP school, , The Hindu , 19 January 2019
[click to view]

Media Links

Residents up in arms against Navi Mumbai Airport
[click to view]

Navi Mumbai Airport will drown villages under water
[click to view]

PAPs huge protest morcha against Navi Mumbai Airport
[click to view]

Setback to Navi Mumbai Airport as locals boycott meeting
[click to view]

It's CIDCO Vs Residents In Navi Mumbai
[click to view]

Bombay Environmental Action group voices concern over destruction due to Navi Mumbai Airport, altering the course of rivers and making the fragile coastal zone sufficiently resilient to withstand the airport
[click to view]

Other Documents

Map of Navi Mumbai Airport site Source: CIDCO
[click to view]

Map of Navi Mumbai Airport, affected villages Source: Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM)
[click to view]

Protest stalls airport construction 12th October 2017 protest stalls construction of Navi Mumbai Airport. Source: The Hindu
[click to view]

Villagers stall blasting work 8th January 2018 - villagers stall work on Navi Mumbai Airport after blasting triggered a landslide. Source: The Hindu
[click to view]

Vacating homes for blasting work 13th January 2018 - Residents were ordered to vacate their homes during blasting work. Source: The Hindu
[click to view]

'Rasta roko' protest against flooding In July 2018 residents of Dungi village blocked a road in protest against flooding they claimed was caused by Navi Mumbai Airport landfill works. Source: The Hindu
[click to view]

A re-opened school in Ulwe In January 2019 villagers re-opened a school on Navi Mumbai airport site, they say it was closed down to force residents to vacate. Source: The Hindu
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update01/02/2019