Government clears Kolkata airport project

May 30th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The central government Friday gave its unconditional approval for the modernisation of the Kolkata airport. The Rs.20 billion project is expected to begin in next two months, a government statement said Friday. The project cleared by the Public Investment Board (PIB) will now be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for its approval, the government said.

According to a civil aviation ministry official, the CCEA is expected to clear the project in the next few days.

The modernisation of the Kolkata airport includes extension of the second runway, construction of rapid exit taxiways, installation of navigation and surveillance systems, and setting up a new integrated terminal building.

The clearance comes in the wake of criticism of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the delay, and its chairman Sitaram Yechury shooting off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging certain arms of the government were deliberately delaying the process in order to privatise the modernisation of airports through the backdoor.

The Kolkata airport project is getting clearance now after Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel May 16 blamed the Planning Commission for delaying the Kolkata and Chennai airport projects.

While the Chennai airport modernisation is yet to take off owing to several bottlenecks, the ministry is facing criticism from not just the Planning Commission but also from the cabinet secretary for delays in the Delhi airport’s modernisation.

The modernisation works at non-metro airports - Udaipur and Amritsar -have been stalled because of the Left insists that private sector involvement in the airports modernisation project should be limited to works outside the terminal buildings.

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