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Sprinting to finish line

Port of call Terminal 3 of IGI Airport would make Delhi’s first impression on visitors during Commonwealth Games 2010, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Sep 18, 2009 00:36 IST
Sidhartha Roy

“196 days to go!” screams a desktop calendar at the site office of Delhi Airport’s upcoming Terminal 3. Outside the office, work on the new international-cum-domestic terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport is going on at a frenetic pace.

About one lakh (100,000) visitors, including athletes and officials, are expected in Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Terminal 3 would be their first touch point.

The massive structure of the terminal is already visible as you travel down the road to the existing airport, as 78 per cent work is complete.

“All the civil work is complete and the structure of the terminal has already been built. We are confident of meeting the March 2010 deadline,” said a spokesman of private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL). Trial runs would start from March and the terminal should be operational before the Games in October 2010.

“Parallel work on installing technical equipment is going on, and the travelators, elevator and escalators are already running. Other works like flooring, installing of conveyor belts and ducting for air conditioning are going on,” he said.

Work on a six-lane road connecting NH-8 to the new terminal is also going on and DIAL seems confident of completing it in time.

Though construction of Terminal 3 is on track now, the work had hit an air pocket earlier this year when DIAL faced a massive cash crunch of Rs 1,827 crore.

The central government stepped in and allowed DIAL to levy an airport development fee (ADF )on passengers flying out of Delhi.

“Though the shortfall would only be recovered through ADF in three years, it helped us in getting funding from creditors,” the spokesman said.

“The crunch had slowed down construction even if it didn’t really stop. Thanks to the ADF, work is back on track now,” said a senior airport official on condition of anonymity.