Not cleared for takeoff: Meerut airport forgets ministry | india | Hindustan Times
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Not cleared for takeoff: Meerut airport forgets ministry

india Updated: Mar 10, 2010 21:23 IST
Tushar Srivastava

The Uttar Pradesh government has announced plans to set up an international airport at Meerut, but in this excitement, it seems to have forgotten to obtain the mandatory clearance from the civil aviation ministry.

The last date for submission of bids for appointment of consultants for the Meerut airport was January 22. However, till date the civil aviation ministry – which is the nodal ministry for any such project anywhere in the country – hasn’t received any application from the state government.

Without government’s clearance, a second Greenfield airport within 150 km radius of an existing airport cannot come up, as is the case with Meerut, which is less than 150 kms from the IGI airport. Also in case of Meerut, clearance would also be needed from DIAL – Delhi airport’s private operator.

Ravindra Singh, principal secretary, civil aviation, UP on February 23 quietly met VP Agarwal, chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Sources said he sought help for the Meerut project. Officials said though an airstrip already existed at Partapur in Meerut, it was not a licensed airport and hence the state government was supposed to apply for the mandatory license, as is the procedure for Greenfield airports.

As per government rules, since the grant of a license for a Greenfield airport involves several agencies, a steering committee is required to be set up, under the chairmanship of secretary, civil aviation and consisting of secretaries from the home and defence ministries, and from the departments of economic affairs and revenue, as well as the planning commission, the AAI chairman and the directors general of civil aviation and meteorological department, to coordinate and monitor the various clearances.

“This committee shall make a recommendation to the civil aviation ministry, which shall place the matter before the cabinet for consideration. DGCA considers such proposals for grant of license only after the approval of the central government is conveyed,” sources said.

“In this particular case, far from getting any clearance, they haven’t even applied for one,” the source said.

Eleven members of Parliament from UP had met civil aviation minister Praful Patel recently to discuss progress of the proposed airport to come-up in Greater Noida. If the Meerut airport does indeed get the requisite clearance it could spell the end of the Greater Noida project.