Kolkata airport project to take off soon

May 27th, 2008 - 1:12 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The modernisation of the Kolkata airport project is set to take off soon with the Public Investment Board (PIB) meeting this week to approve the Rs.20 billion airport project, a civil aviation ministry official said Monday. According to the official, once the Kolkata airport project is cleared by the PIB it will be referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for its approval.

The move follows criticism by the Parliamentary Standing Committee with its Chairman Sitaram Yechury shooting off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Yechury had alleged that 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 taking shape now after a spat between the Planning Commission and Civil Aviation Ministry early this month. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had on May 16 blamed the Planning Commission for delaying the Kolkata and Chennai airport projects.

Although the Kolkata airport project is taking shape, the government has yet to decide on the development of the Chennai airport, which is estimated to cost Rs.18.08 billion.

According to an official, consultations have been held for acquisition of 1,070 acres of land at the Chennai airport to hand it over to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) free of cost.

The AAI will be developing the Kolkata and Chennai airports. The AAI has already approved consultants for the Kolkata project, said an official.

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

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