European companies make a bee line for Kannur airport

June 25th, 2012 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 25 (IANS) European companies are making a bee line to get contracts for the proposed Rs.1,400 crore Kannur International Airport in Kerala where work is about to commence, according to an official.

Kannur airport is located 540 km from here and is the fourth international airport in the state.

“The work for the proposed airport is planned in three phases with the first phase would be levelling of the ground over more than 1,000 acres of land. The tender for this was to end by June 30 and following requests from several European firms we might extend it by a month,” said the official who did not wish to be identified.

Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) has already been registered and would be built under a public-private initiative with former civil aviation secretary V. Thulasidas being appointed the managing director of the new company.

“The levelling of the land is estimated to cost around Rs. 400 crore according to the detailed project report prepared by the Cochin International Airport Limited. There is a good rush of companies who are interested (in the project) which is expected to take 30 months,” said the official.

The second phase includes building the runway and apron and the third phase includes the building of the terminal and the air traffic control towers.

“We expect that by the end of 2014 the airport could be ready or latest by the first quarter of 2015,” added the official.

Satte Minister for Excise K. Babu, who is also in charge of the airport development said that the local issues of land acquisition would be sorted out soon.

“Most of the people who gave the land have been compensated The shares for individuals who have already applied (more than 6,000 applications) would also be taken up shortly,” said Babu to questions that came up in the assembly, Monday.

In the first phase of allotment the state government has decided to issue share capital to the tune of Rs.784 crore, of this the state government’ share has been pegged at 26 per cent.

At least 49 per cent of the shares have been earmarked for individuals and the Oommen Chandy government after public demand, especially the non-resident Keralite’s reduced the minimum amount of subscription from 2001 shares to 500 shares. (Each share is priced at Rs.100).

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), one of the largest public sector oil company, has picked 21 per cent stakes at a whopping Rs.170 crore in the proposed airport.

The others who have picked up shares include the state owned wholesaler of liquor and beer, (Kerala State Beverages Corporation), Kerala Minerals and Metals, Kerala State Electricity Board.

According to a study that was done earlier it was found out that in a year after it opens close to 1.5 million passengers would use this airport and it would handle 86,000 tonnes of cargo.

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