NEW AIRPORT: Cabinet commits start-up funds; Minister delighted

The Maharashtra government has agreed to sanction Rs 200 crore as seed money for starting the New Chakan airport; Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is jubilant about the decision.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published:February 20, 2009 1:29 am

The Maharashtra government has agreed to sanction Rs 200 crore as seed money for starting the New Chakan airport; Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is jubilant about the decision.

“Two meetings and a letter issued to the government has seen the process pending for the last two years gain momentum,” Patel said on Thursday.

On Wednesday night,the state cabinet sanctioned the seed money for starting the project that is pegged to come up on 3,300 hectares with two airstrips at an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore.

Only a week earlier,Patel had conducted a meeting with senior government officers and the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) to speed up the process. “I had told them that the Union government would not support the state demand for more flights for Pune. The state had been sitting on the project for long and we want the same to be completed by 2010-11. Once the MADC completes the land acquisition process,they should speed up construction,” the minister said.

Patel had criticised the state government’s lackadaisical approach to the development of the airport and had told this newspaper that he would hold meetings with officers concerned to speed up the process. It’s been two years after land acquisition process got under way and 10 months since the MADC took over the project. A senior state government officer confirmed that Patel had a talk with them.

Officers from the aviation department said once the acquisition is complete,the airport would come up in two years. “A rehabilitation policy which will see farmers getting Rs 25-25 lakh per hectare,or Rs 10 lakh to Rs 14 lakh per acre,” added the officer. “A buyback policy of 15 per cent of developed land will be offered. We will reserve 500 hectares for the buyback policy under the rehabilitation project,while the remaining 1,300 hectares would be developed on a BoT basis.”

The officer added that the seed capital would help the agency raise the loan to complete the project. “We should be able to keep the deadline sought by the centre,” he added. The cabinet has also agreed to leave out irrigated land,especially the area near the river.

District collector Chandrakant Dalvi has initiated talks with the villagers whose land is to be acquired. He said once he has all the details of the cabinet meeting,he would speed up the process.

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