Switzerland’s Zurich Airport International AG Friday won the contract to build the proposed airport in Jewar on the outskirts of Delhi. The Swiss company emerged as the highest bidder for the airport, outbidding competitors like Delhi International Airport Limited, Adani Enterprises, and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited.
What is the Jewar Airport project?
The Jewar Airport or the Noida International Greenfield Airport is an upcoming greenfield airport in Jewar in Greater Noida. It will be the second in the NCR region after Delhi’s IGI airport. The airport is said to be spread over 5,000 hectares and will cost an estimated Rs 29,560 crores. According to officials, the proposed plan is to build a two-runway airport by 2022-23 and then, at a future date, to extend it to a 7200-acre 6-runway airport. The airport will be located about 72 km from Delhi airport, about 40 km from Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, about 28 km from Greater Noida, 65 km from Gurugram and 130 km from Agra.
With six runways, it will be India’s largest and among the world’s largest airports. Only the O’Hare International Airport and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are larger, with eight and seven runways, respectively. Other existing airports with six runways are Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Logan International Airport, Boston and Denver International Airport. As of September 2019, the Indira Gandhi International Airport has the highest number of runways in India, three.
When was the project conceived?
The Jewar airport project was conceived in 2001 when Rajnath Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh but the plan was forgotten after the BJP was voted out of power in the state. In 2010, the then chief minister Mayawati attempted to revive the project. But the UPA government at the Centre had objected, saying an airport in Jewar could affect business at IGI Airport.
It was in 2014, when the BJP came to power at the Centre, then Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said setting up an international airport in Jewar was one of his top priorities.
In 2017, the project was put on the fast track after the BJP won the UP Assembly polls in 2017.
Why a new Airport?
The Jewar airport is aimed at reducing burden on IGI, seen reaching its peak capacity of handling close to 110 million passengers in the next 6-7 years. It will be a big positive for airlines operating with Delhi as their primary hub, because it will help deal with the restrained growth from the country’s largest airport due to slot constraints on the back of rising demand. The government also expects the airport to serve as an international hub for adjoining locations such as Noida, Agra, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Bulandshahr and particularly Greater Noida, which has seen a surge in manufacturing facilities by several multinationals.
The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) was appointed as the implementing agency on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh government in 2017. The airport is to be developed on a Public-Private Partnership model (PPP).
YEIDA has proposed to provide an elevated road, a Rapid Rail Transport System (RRTS) network and a dedicated direct Metro corridor from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Jewar. The agency has identified 5,100 hectares for the project, out of which 240 hectares belong to the state government and rest is with private owners. For now, the total project area as per approved estimates will be 1,334 hectares across six villages in the first phase.
What is the development cost?
According to the Noida International Airport Limited, the airport will be developed in four phases. The airport is expected to be completed by 2023. The development work of the first phase is likely to commence early in 2020 and would cost Rs 4,086.54 crore. The cost includes Rs 2,848.35 crore for compensation over the acquisition of private land, Rs 894.53 crore for resettlement and rehabilitation of families displaced due to the projects, Rs 318.66 crore as additional compensation and cost of assets, and Rs 25 crore in administrative expenses.
Land acquisition process for Jewar airport
The land acquisition process began in 2018 after the UP government submitted a report citing consent of 72 per cent farmers. The six villages — Rohi, Dayanatpur, Kishorpur, Parohi, Ranhera and Banwari Bas — in Gautam Budh Nagar’s Jewar tehsil have been earmarked for the first phase of the project. As compensation, the state government assured Rs 2,300 per square metre for landowners; a job at the proposed airport for one member of each family; a residential plot sized 50% of the one they currently own; double the value of their existing home to carry out the construction of a new one. However, some farmers are resisting the bid to acquire their land. Many are concerned about the disparity in the rate of compensation for land. They are are also peeved about the categorisation of their region as “urban”. This classification makes them eligible for a compensation of two times the circle rate, instead of four times which is applicable on agricultural land under the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.