Work on Kalaburagi airport hits a design roadblock

Work on Kalaburagi airport hits a design roadblock

More than three years after the abrupt suspension of the project work, the state government has now realised that the design of the jinxed Kalaburagi greenfield airport is faulty and that the night landing of jumbo aircraft like Airbus is not feasible.

RITES, an engineering consultant company of the government of India, recently conducted an inspection of the project site and opined that night landing of jumbo aircraft was not feasible, given the existing airport design.  For, the distance between the runway and the boundary wall is not as per the norm: A minimum of 200 metres distance on both sides is necessary for night landing of big aircraft, experts say.

“RITES has recommended some minor changes in the airport design in order to ensure night landing of jumbo aircraft. The distance between the runway and the boundary wall will have to be further extended by 30 metres on both sides. For this, an additional 48 acres of land (close to Kalaburagi-Sedam road) has to be acquired,” Kalaburagi district Deputy Commissioner Vipul Bansal said.

Gulbarga Airport Development Limited, a joint venture (JV) between Rahi Aviation Holdings Pvt Ltd and IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd, was awarded the contract of the Rs 186-crore project under public-private- partnership basis to construct and operate the airport in 2007. The company began the work in April 2011 and airport was scheduled to be completed in 2012.

Abrupt halt
But the construction came to an abrupt halt in 2012 as the companies in the JV locked themselves in a legal tussle. The government terminated the contract in 2014. The responsibility of completing the work has been entrusted to the State Public Works Department.

Additional Chief Secretary to the Infrastructure Development Department, Vandita Sharma, was not available for comment.
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