Message in THE HINDU on 28-05-2007
New Delhi, May 28 (PTI): A final decision on Chennai airport modernisation and the creation of a greenfield airport near the Tamil Nadu capital is likely to be taken up by Prime Minister's Committee on Infrastructure.
Official sources said that at its next meeting, the infrastructure panel would consider various aspects, including pros and cons of a new greenfield airport near Chennai, before taking a final view on the matter.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, had recently announced that Chennai airport revamp as well as development of a greenfield airport would be handled by Airports Authority of India. West Bengal government has already entrusted the Kolkata airport modernisation work to the AAI.
The DMK government was planning to have a greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur and Tiruvallur talukas near Chennai, Karunanidhi had said after a meeting of all legislative party leaders.
He had also said the existing airport at Meenambakkam would be the expanded to Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Kerugambakkam and Tharapakkam in Sriperumbudur talukas and the government would provide suitable compensation to 947 households in these areas and rehabilitate them.
On the greenfield airport, the sources however, said the current traffic projections show that the southern metropolis does not require a second airport in the next 12-13 years. The traffic growth could be handled by the Meenambakkam airport through its expansion programme, they added.
As per official figures, the existing airport was currently handling about 7.55 million passengers annually, which was poised to grow to about nine million by 2009-10.
The sources said the only thing that was clear at this moment was that the state-owned AAI would handle the development of the existing airport, for which the state government has made the required land available.
According to the Tamil Nadu government, while the greenfield airport would come up on 4,820.66 acre, expansion of Chennai airport would be carried out on 1,069.99 acre at an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore.
On Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, AAI has already submitted a modernisation plan that is estimated to cost around Rs 2,000 crore. The funds would be raised by the AAI through its own financial strength.
Of the estimated outlay, AAI plans to spend Rs 900 crore during the 11th Plan period and the remaining amount after that.
As the modernisation plan is put into practice, the existing airport in the eastern metropolis would continue to serve the passengers, the sources said.