MoEF gives nod for expansion, development of Hubli airport

MoEF gives nod for expansion, development of Hubli airport

An Expert Appraisal Committee under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accorded green signal to the expansion and development of an airport at Hubli in Karnataka.

However, the committee has sought additional details to give environmental clearance for development of airport at Belgaum. Both the airports are run by Airports Authority of India (AAI).

"After deliberation, EAC recommended the proposal (for environmental clearance) with the following conditions in the EC letter for strict compliance by the proponent (AAI)," the EAC said in the minutes of the meeting.

The EAC in its meeting held in August 2014 noted that the existing and predicted noise levels presented by the AAI appeared to be 'unrealistic' and hence wanted them to be re-examined  during the aircraft 'landing and takeoff' and 'compare and validate' the values with the predicted noise levels by appropriate modelling.

Based on details submitted by the AAI, the EAC, in a meeting held last month cleared the expansion program of the Hubli airport.In case of Belgaum airport, the AAI approached the MoEF to upgrade and modernise the existing airport to facilitate operations of four flights of A-321 aircrafts per day.

Currently, it handles ATR-72 aircraft only.An MoU has been signed between the state goverment and AAI for the modernisation of Belgaum airport. The area of the existing airport is 360.34 acres and additional land having 370 acres area has been provided for the expansion phase by the state government. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 293.35 crore.

Belgaum city has been identified as having potential for air connectivity based on criteria of population, economic potential and educational hub.

The modernisation of the existing airport is expected to trigger growth in the region by providing additional employment facilitating growth of ancillary industries and trade centres.

The EAC has asked the AAI to come up with details of likely impact of all the developments, on the unobstructed flow in natural drains, and measures taken to avoid flooding and submergence in neighbouring areas.

The airport will be developed for safe operation of A-321 aircraft by development of a new runway and a terminal building to handle 200 peak hour passengers, apron, air traffic controller, runway end safety, apron, isolation bay, fire fighting equipments, rainwater harvesting and sewage treatment plant etc.

The airport is presently handling 13,778 passengers annually which is expected to increase to 92,590 by 2022-23, the AAI said in its application for environmental clearance.

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