The proposed airport at Greater Noida might be some distance from taking off. The Committee on Infrastructure headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia to iron out differences on the issue of allowing new airports to come up within 150 km of existing ones. The Cabinet will take up the greenfield airport policy only after this group sorts out inter-ministerial differences on the matter.
Patel is in favour of easing existing norms to allow more new airports within a smaller radius. The airport at Greater Noida is proposed to be built at Jewar, 72 km from Delhi, and will be spread over 1,500 hectares. The airport will cost an estimated Rs 350 crore to build.
The civil aviation ministry has received a techno-feasibility study and project report from the Uttar Pradesh government. “The ministry has considered the report and has assured the state government that it will require approximately three months to get an approval in principle from the central government. However, after the Committee on Infrastructure’s meeting, this timeline is unlikely to be met,” a source said.
Importantly, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has also approached the Centre, pitching for an airport near Sonepat, which could serve as the second airport for the National Capital Region, sources said. Hooda has argued that an airport at Sonepat was imperative considering that soon the region would have several special economic zones and would attract huge air traffic.
The Centre has envisioned an investment of close to Rs 36,000 crore to develop about 100 small and greenfield airports in the country during the Eleventh Plan (2007-2012). The government is expecting that the private sector will contribute about Rs 24,000 crore and state-owned Airports Authority of India will pitch in with the remaining Rs 12,000 crore.