Airport revamp in 35 more cities
The project will cost nearly $1.7-bn.india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 17:43 IST
The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared a proposal to upgrade airports at 35 major cities at a cost of nearly $1.7 billion, a minister said.
The overhaul of the airports in New Delhi and the western economic hub of Mumbai has already been approved and contracts have been handed over to two private consortia at an estimated combined cost of around Rs 54 billion ($1.24 billion).
The state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take charge of overhauling the facilities in the country's second-tier cities in partnership with private companies, Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters in New Delhi.
"The development of 35 non-metro airports will be done by the Airports Authority," Patel said.
The minister said work was likely to begin next year and be completed by 2009 in three phases.
Most of India's airports are congested and lack passenger amenities. But a lack of funds had so far stalled their overhaul at a time when the country's airline market is expanding rapidly.
The Government's decision to press ahead with privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports met with stiff resistance from airport workers and the Communist allies of the Congress party-led government.
Among the airports to be upgraded are those in the tourist cities of Goa, Jaipur, Amritsar, the Taj Mahal town of Agra and western Ahmedabad and northern Lucknow cities.
But the busy airports in the main cities of Chennai in India's south and Kolkata in the east, which the communists have warned should not be privatised as this would cut down revenue for AAI, were not on the list.
Patel said airports in the two cities will also be upgraded after consultations with the state governments.