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Soon: Another airport for NCR

The Govt approves a much-awaited policy that would pave the way for new airports to come up in cities clogged by heavy air traffic, report Samiran Saha and Gaurav Choudhury.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2008 03:55 IST

The National Capital Region (NCR) would soon have its second airport as the government on Thursday approved a much-awaited policy that would pave the way for new airports to come up in cities clogged by heavy air traffic.

In NCR, a new airport at Jewar in Greater Noida has been proposed for which the UP government has identified a 1500-hectare site. The earlier norms did not allow a new airport within 150 km of the existing one.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday, however, decided to relax the norm and allowed new airports to come up within 150 km of existing ones.

The proposals for such airports would have to be approved by a specially appointed steering committee headed by the civil aviation secretary.

“The committee shall consider all relevant facts and circumstances including contractual liabilities, if any,” a civil aviation ministry statement said.

Several metropolitan cities have more than one airport that prevents congestion. London has two, Gatwick and Heathrow.

The GMR led consortium that is upgrading and modernizing the existing Indira Gandhi International airport is opposed to the proposal of setting up in the NCR fearing that it could adversely affect the revenues of the Delhi airport.

India’s greenfield airport policy has been in the works for over year as an inter-ministerial group was examining some contentious legal and technical aspects. For new airports beyond 150 kms, no Cabinet approval would be required and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would scrutinise the proposals.

The government has envisioned investment close to $9 billion ( Rs 36,000 crore) to develop about 100 small and greenfield airports in the country during the 11th plan period ( 2007-2012). The government expects the private sector to contribute Rs 24,000 crore and Airports Authority of India to pitch in with the remaining Rs 12,000 crore.

The Cabinet also approved a policy paving the way for construction of private airports and helipads.