Chennai firm to build Bellary airport in Karnataka (Lead)

August 6th, 2010 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

ArcelorMittal Bangalore, Aug 6 (IANS) An airport will come up in Bellary, one of Karanataka’s most backward districts but in the news over illegal iron ore mining, at a cost of Rs.320 crore.
The greenfield airport will be built by Chennai-based infrastructure developer MARG Ltd on the outskirts of Bellary, about 320 km from here, under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

As per the agreement signed here Friday by the state-run Infrastructure Development Department with the developer, MARG will operate and maintain the airport for 30 years and then it will be transferred to the state thereafter.

“The airport will be built in 24 months after the foundation is laid August 20 at Bellary. The runway length will initially be suitable for landing ATR turbo-prop aircraft and will be extended subsequently for jets,” MARG chairman and managing director G.R.K. Reddy told reporters here.

State Infrastructure and Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy said opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj would perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the airport in the presence of farmers whose lands have been acquired for the project.

MARG has set up a special purpose vehicle in the name of MARG Sri Krishnadevaraya Airport Ltd to execute the project.

“The debt-equity ration will be 65:35 percent. We are in discussion with domestic financial institutions to raise the debt,” G.R.K. Reddy said.

The state government has acquired about 900 acres of land at Sanganakar village, around 12 km from Bellary city for the greenfield airport.

MARG will also build facilities, amenities and associated infrastructure such as an aviation academy, exhibition and convention centre, business parks, shopping mall, flying club and theme/entertainment park among others.

“The airport will be able to park six-eight aircraft at a time in the first phase, while the terminal building will initially cater to about 100 passengers,” the minister said.

Located in the heartland of north Karnataka and renowned for rich iron ore reserves, Bellary has emerged as the second fastest-growing city in the state.

“The state government has signed about 10 agreements recently with global steel majors such as ArcelorMittal and Posco of (South) Korea to set up massive steel plants in the district at an estimated investment of Rs.2.56 trillion (Rs.2.56 lakh crore),” Janardhana Reddy said.

As one of the leading infrastructure development firms, MARG has presence in diverse sectors such as ports, ship repair yards, dredging, marine logistics, special economic zones, airports, power and multi-level parks.

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