AAI agrees to take up greenfield airport project in Bijapur

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has agreed to take up a greenfield airport project in Bijapur, Minister for Infrastructure Development S R Patil disclosed on Friday.

Addressing reporters, he said the State government has agreed to bear 50 per cent cost of levelling the undulated and rocky surface of the land identified for the airport construction, located about 11 kms from Bijapur town. The levelling work is estimated to cost about Rs 100 crore, he added.

The government’s earlier attempt to implement the project on public-private partnership basis failed with the promoter – Marg Ltd -- pulling out of the contract. The Marg Ltd had taken the physical possession of 727 acres of land identified for the project and had also set up a site office. The estimated cost of the Bijapur airport was Rs 200 crore. The company had signed the project development agreement with the government in January 2010.

Patil said the promoters of Gulbarga greenfield airport -- Regional Airport-Holdings International Ltd (Rahi) – are involved in a legal dispute. Hence the project work has come to a standstill. About 90 per cent of the project is complete. The government is exploring the possibility of terminating the contract with the promoters and get the project completed by involving another company, he added.

Asked about viability of minor airports in the State, the Minister said though there has been demand from passengers, airlines are not ready to operate in smaller cities. The government will hold talks with these airlines and try to convince them to provide air connectivity to tire-II cities like Mysore, he added.

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