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New Chakan Airport still miles away

The Rs 7,000-crore New Chakan international airport appears certain to miss the 2011 deadline to start operations as announced by Union Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune |
May 14, 2009 12:14:37 am

One step forward,many more to go: Tenders for study just floated,launch unlikely until 2012-13

The Rs 7,000-crore New Chakan international airport appears certain to miss the 2011 deadline to start operations as announced by Union Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel. It was only on May 11 that the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) floated tenders for consultants for a techno-economic study. And yet,this also marks a forward movement as the project had been lying dormant for two years.

With the MADC floating the tenders and setting the deadline for submission at October 2010,senior officers say it will easily be 2011 before construction work begins. Going by this schedule,the operations can start only by 2012-13.

“Tenders have just been floated and it will take at least three months for the consultants to get appointed. There are several other approvals that have to be sought. It will take at least two years for construction to begin,” a senior MADC officer said.

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The consultants appointed will have to carry out detailed planning of the infrastructure system as well as design the project and obtain approvals.

Nearly 3,330 hectares have to be acquired for the project from seven villages — Chandoos,Shiroli,Waki Budruk,Pimple Budruk,Kiwle,Koregaon Budruk and Wadgaon.

The MADC official said the last two months have seen no progress because of the election code of conduct. The feasibility study will check whether the land is suitable,whether the runways can be oriented and how to handle obstructions. “Projections of the present and future traffic,both passenger and cargo,whether privatisation/BOT is feasible – all these things will have to be assessed,” said the officer.

Even after tenders are submitted by October next year,discussions on bridging the project viability gap too have to be shown in the study. It’s after the report is ready that it will be submitted to various ministries for approval.

“The Environment Ministry’s approval and even approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Indian Air Force will have to be sought and that will take time,” the official said.

The actual construction will in all likelihood start only in 2011,he said.

Earlier,the MADC had submitted the preliminary feasibility report for the land and had sought seed money of Rs 200 crore. The MADC had then said it would take three years after acquisition of land to get the airport developed.

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