Rahi venture begins Gulbarga airport project

August 11th, 2011 - 1:01 am ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga Raju Bangalore, Aug 10 (IANS) Regional Airport-Holdings International Ltd (Rahi), a joint venture (JV) between Comet Infra-Developments Pvt. Ltd (CIDL) and IL&FS; Transportation Networks Ltd (ITNL), commenced project work on building a regional airport at Gulbarga in north Karnataka, about 600 km from here, a top company official said Wednesday.

“After achieving financial closure in June with our equity partners and banks, we have started the project work to build the regional airport on the outskirts of Gulbarga for commencing operations by July 1, 2012,” Rahi founder-chairman Umesh Kumar Baveja told reporters here.

The JV also plans to launch a feeder airline service with four-five short-haul aircraft and offer the airstrip with 1,900 metres runway, airport terminal and associated services to state-run and private airlines to make optimal utilisation of the upcoming aviation infrastructure.

The Rs.210-crore greenfield project is coming up in 371 acres of land, 15 km from Gulbarga, on build, operate and transfer (BOT) model under public-private partnership between the state government and a consortium comprising the JV partners, Nagarjuna Constructions Company (NCC) and Vienna International Airport (VIE Indien).

Holding 22 percent (Rs.15.5 crore) in the equity capital of Rs.70.25 crore, Rahi raised the remaining Rs.54.75 crore from ITNL, NCC and VIE, who hold 26 percent each in the consortium.

With a debt-equity ratio of 3:1, Rahi raised Rs.139.75 crore towards debt from three state-run banks, with Bank of Baroda as the lead bank.

“In the remaining 322 acres of the total land, measuring 692 acres, we propose to build clusters for setting up industrial units in diverse verticals such as aerospace, electronics, horticulture, floriculture and retail for speedy transportation of their goods and services,” Baveja said.

Though the project was originally allotted to the consortium led by the Hyderabad-based Mytas Infra Ltd, founded by scam-tainted B. Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computer Services Ltd, Rahi became the lead promoter after IL&FS; acquired Mytas and formed the JV with 40 percent holding.

“The 30-year concession period given by the state government for the project is extendable by another 30 years as part of the bid,” Baveja pointed out.

The consortium will pay the state government Rs.20,232 per annum towards lease for the entire land with 10 percent increase after every three years.

The consortium also bagged the Rs.240-crore regional airport project near Shimoga, about 280 km from here in central Karnataka, geographically known as Malnad region.

“Work on the Shimoga airport project will commence soon after achieve financial closure in September on the lines of the Gulbarga project under BOT and will be made operational by Sep 1, 2012,” Baveja noted.

The state government has allotted the consortium 662 acres of land about 9km from Shimoga city for the airport project in 342 acres and the industrial clusters around it in the remaining 320 acres with a 30-year concession period.

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