Shelved by Maya,Akhilesh nod to develop Meerut airstrip as airport

Cabinet also decides to hand over Saifai,Moradabad and Faizabad airstrips to AAI

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published: September 4, 2013 3:34:56 am

In a significant decision Tuesday,Uttar Pradesh cabinet approved to hand over its existing airstrip in four districts – Meerut,Etawah (Saifai),Moradabad and Faizabad – to Airports Authority of India (AAI) to be developed as fullfledged airports.

The decision is significant because Meerut is the home district of Union Civil Aviation Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh,who had been demanding for long to hand over some of the airstrips to AAI for further development.

In 2010,despite getting the necessary clearances from Centre to develop airport in Meerut,then Mayawati government had shelved the plan while promoting her dream project of Jewar International Airport,which was opposed by Central Government following technical hurdles.

“We have decided to hand over Meerut Airstrip to central government to develop it further to international level,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said after the cabinet meeting. However,the government is yet to consider the demand of AAI to hand over additional land free of cost apart from the Meerut airstrip to develop other amenities.

“The cost of the land is very high in Meerut city and expected expenditure on land acquisition is likely to be more than Rs 300 crore. The Centre has thus been asked to share 50 per cent of the burden. Further decision would be taken after Centre’s reply,” a government officer said.

Incidentally,the state has agreed to provide land free of cost as per the AAI’s requirement in Moradabad and Faizabad.

While,Union civil aviation ministry has been requesting state for transfer of Meerut,Moradabad,Faizabad airstrips,the addition of Saifai has come as a surprise to some because of doubts over its commercial viability. Saifai is the native village of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Asked about the feasibility of developing Saifai airstrip into a airport,a government officer said,“The area may not be commercially much viable at present,but with Saifai having PGI like medical institution,the airport would help in medical tourism. It is a long term vision.”

Other significant cabinet decisions included,giving final nod to the implementation of the “Bhookh Mukti Evam Jeevan Raksha Guarantee scheme” under which poor women would be given two “sarees”,whereas elderly would be given a blanket free of cost.

The cabinet also approved state-of-the-art police control rooms in Lucknow,Allahabad,Kanpur and Ghaziabad.

“The staff at these control rooms would be equipped with latest technology. They would be given new vehicles which would be GPS equipped,” Akhilesh said.

A decision was also taken to increase the age —- from 65 to 70 —- of appointing retired teachers on contract basis in Medical colleges across state.

Not in a hurry to implement Food security scheme: akhilesh

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Tuesday said that his government was not in a hurry to implement the food security scheme of the UPA government and would consider it after looking into certain issues,including the expenditure.

“The Food Security Bill has been passed in Parliament but there are many issues like that of transportation of the foodgrain,which would have to be looked into. It would be implemented but we are not in a hurry,” the chief minister said.

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