Raichur airport: AAI team visit this month

Raichur airport: AAI team visit this month amid RoW issues

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo.

A team of experts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is scheduled to visit Raichur this month even as the state government told the Legislative Assembly that the proposed airport there had some right-of-way issues. 

Infrastructure Development Minister Anand Singh, in his reply to a starred question by Raichur Rural MLA Basanagouda Daddal, said the proposed airport’s land was surrounded by power lines of the Yeramarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS). Also, the height of the YTPS chimneys would obstruct flight operations. 

Laying the answer on behalf of Singh, who was absent, Primary & Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said the government had already acquired 400 acres of land for the airport. The airport, he said, will have the capacity to operate 20-seater aircraft. “Soon after the AAI submits its report, we will take further action,” he said. 

Lamenting the delay, Daddal said an airport in Raichur would help the backward district. “Because of the delay, Raichur is losing out on investments. The lack of air connectivity also led to Raichur losing IIT to Dharwad,” he said. 

When Daddal pointed out that the state budget had no mention of funds for the airport, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, the minister in charge of Raichur, said Rs 62 crore under the Kalyana Karnataka Region Development Board (KKRDB) had been set aside for the project. 

Savadi added that he had discussed the project with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. “We will go ahead with the detailed project report this year and take up works next year,” he said. 

Congress MLAs Priyank Kharge, Bheema Naik and others objected to the use of KKRDB funds for the airport project.

“The government should stop using KKRDB funds. It’s not a kamadhenu,” Kharge said. “On one hand, you say there are right-of-way issues. On the other hand, you say land has been acquired and funds earmarked. There’s still no technical approval. The AAI process itself will take 2-3 years,” he said. 

Taking exception, Savadi said KKRDB funds were set aside for the airport after the consent of MLAs from the Kalyana Karnataka region. “Didn’t you want an airport at Raichur,” he asked.