Monday, May 26, 2008

Kolkata airport modernisation may steal a march over Chennai

Kolkata airport modernisation may steal a march over Chennai:

New Delhi, May 25 The modernisation of Kolkata airport could steal a march over Chennai. The public investment board meeting to take a view on the modernisation of Kolkata airport is scheduled to be held at the end of the month even as another date is being drawn up to hold the pre-Public Investment Board (PIB) meeting for the Chennai airport project.

Generally, the inter-Ministerial pre-PIB meeting is held to iron out any differences that various ministries have about the project. After the pre-PIB clearance, the project will have to get the nod from the Public Investment Board and finally the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs before work can begin.

Official sources told Business Line that the pre-PIB meeting for Chennai airport, which was earlier scheduled for May 12, was put off after the Ministry of Finance and Planning Commission sought more time. ‘Constant objections’

The Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, also raised the issue in a letter to the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, pointing out that it was “the constant objections” on the size and scale of the project being raised by the Commission that were responsible for the delay in the project.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has argued that it has drawn up plans for the airport keeping in mind the need of the country over the next two decades. The development work at Chennai airport is expected to cost Rs 1,808 crore. Sources indicated that consultations have been held with the State Government to acquire 1,069.99 acres of land and hand this to Airports Authority of India free-of-cost.

The Government has decided that the modernisation of both Chennai and Kolkata airports will be taken up by Airports Authority of India.

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