Watch LIVE Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava :PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Bahubali General Hospital

"Civil aviation is an important component of the infrastructure development. people wearing hawai-chappal should be able to fly in hawai-jahaz", Modi said to a thunderous applause, at the ceremony laying foundation stone to the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) in Raigad district.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the foundation plaque at the ground breaking ceremony for Navi Mumbai International airport.

"Speaking at the Global Investors" Summit, PM Shri Narendra Modi said the Government's budget reforms had created a new work culture and were transforming the socio-economic landscape of the country.

"While the aviation sector is growing fast (clipping at 20 per cent for the past many months), aviation infrastructure is lagging behind this".

Despite the delay, the Navi Mumbai airport would not only address the employment woes of the satellite city, but also boost the real estate sector in the megapolis.

"Around 450 aircraft are operational in India, including those owned privately.since Independence".

The PM drew loud cheers from the gathering when he referred to Shivaji Jayanti on Monday, and spoke about replicating the Maratha ruler's sea route strategy of strengthening ports in India to bolster exports as part of the Sagarmala project.

The second phase, to be completed by 2022, will take the handling capacity to 25 million passengers. "Our aim is to increase the speed of work, transform the sector making it more affordable", PM Modi said.

On his visit to Mumbai, the prime minister also inaugurated the country's largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), which has been built at the cost of Rs 4,719 crore.

He added that the aviation sector also brings more employment opportunities.

- A total of 10 villages in Navi Mumbai region were affected due to the airport project.

The three days global business summit saw the chief minister taking a centre stage to project and potential of Maharashtra to both domestic and global partners through key policies and mega-projects.

- Rs 4,000 crore would be invested by GVK for the completion of first phase - the deadline for which is December 2019.

On the other hand, conceived almost two decades ago, the 160 billion rupee Navi Mumbai International Airport is being developed on a public-private partnership basis by City and Industrial Development Corporation - CIDCO and GVK group which runs the existing Mumbai airport. Maharashtra Governor C V Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and Ramdas Athawale, State Ministers and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

The new airport will have two parallel runways, and will handle close to 80 flights an hour.

  • Rogelio Becker