Gulbarga airport remains a promise

Foundation laid in June 2008; was to be operational March this year

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa laid the foundation stone for the project on June 14, 2008. However, not a single stone has moved on the sprawling 693-acre project site near Srinivas Saradagi on Sedam Road about 12 km from the City in the past two years.

The chief minister, during the ceremony, had announced that airport will be operational in 24 months and had even instructed the executing agency to advance the deadline by four months.

However, much water has flown in River Krishna since then and the State Cabinet will meet for the third time in the City on Monday.

Runway orientation

The project taken up in Public Private Participation mode faces some rudimentary hurdles even after 27 months of its launch. Deputy Commissioner R Vishal told Deccan Herald that the delay was due to certain changes to be made in the orientation of the runway. The Director General of Civil Aviation has already inspected the project site and suggested to shift power lines in the vicinity. The KPTCL will take up the work soon after which the project would commence, he said.

The decks for the project were cleared in May this year with the district administration and the Gulbarga Airport Development Limited (GADL) entering into a Lease Rental Agreement. The land has been given to GADL on a lease rent of Rs 15,111 per acre per year with an increase of 10 per cent every year for 30 years. However, the payment of lease rental has been deferred for the first 10 years in lieu of a bank guarantee for an equivalent sum, totalling to Rs 17.5 cr. The bank guarantee has been obtained to ensure that the GADL sticks to its commitment of completing the project in 24 months from May 2010, the DC said.

The GADL, a consortium of private companies headed by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) is said to have committed to operationalise the airport by May 2012.

Investors shy away

The inordinate delay in the completion of the project has badly hampered industrialisation of the district. The participants at the recently held Global Investors Meet were reportedly reluctant to consider Gulbarga as an investment destination due to absence of the airport.

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