Forest nod: New city airport faces delay End is near for surge fares as fresh law will cover Ola, Uber
The Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project has hit a roadblock again as the forest advisory committee (FAC) of ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) has deferred its decision on the stage-II forest clearance owing to discrepancies in the compensatory afforestation (CA) scheme.
This effectively means the project, which was supposed to take off in September, will get delayed.
However, V Radha, joint managing director of City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), said attempts will be made to ensure the clearance is received soon for work to commence on time.
Cidco has already appointed contractors for pre-development work, which includes land levelling, hill cutting, diversion of high-tension wires and diversion of a river. It is expected to appoint a developer for the airport terminal work early next year.
After a two-decade-long wait, which saw several delays to get clearances and for the farmers — whose land has been acquired — to come on board, Cidco officials were confident of starting pre-development work in September.
A few weeks ago, Cidco had made a presentation to the FAC regarding the CA for use of 250 ha forest land, including mangroves, for airport development. Cidco and the state forest department had identified areas in Sudhagad and Alibaug in Raigad for afforestation and Panvel for mangroves plantation.
Taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola may no longer be able to raise fares arbitrarily in times of higher demand.
The cabinet on Wednesday agreed to bring all app-based taxihailing services under the regulatory network that will allow state governments to fix a fare cap and check arbitrary charging, the biggest customer grouse. Violators face a fine of up to Rs2 lakh.
“Once there is a fare cap, aggregators will have to keep the surge pricing within the range that has been fixed,” a road ministry official said.
Taxi aggregators have been operating in a grey area as the motor vehicles act, framed in 1988, doesn’t cover ride-sharing services, allowing them to run without licences.
The ministry is looking to plug this hole and is reworking the licensing norms. It has decided to introduce a new category to cover aggregators. Under the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016, an “aggregator” has been defined as “a digital intermediary or marketplace for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation.”
According to rough estimates, aggregator service account for five percent of the Rs59,720 crore taxi business in India.