Haryana government on Monday formally shelved the proposed Greenfield (airport built right from the scratch at a new location) cargo airport in Meham sub-division of Rohtak, recommending setting up of an international passenger airport at Hisar.
Chief minister ML Khattar on Monday also asked the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) to take up the issue with the Union civil aviation ministry for grant of in-principle approval for the proposed international airport at Hisar. The new government is pushing for an international passenger terminal besides a maintenance and repair operations (MRO) facility for the aircrafts.
The state government has proposed that existing domestic air strip at Hisar can be elongated and developed for the international airport by integrating around 3,500 acres of government land abutting the civil airport. The government is in the process of appointing a consultant to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed Hisar international airport.
The previous Congress government had proposed a Greenfield cargo airport at the tri-junction of Rohtak, Hisar and Bhiwani districts and an Airports’ Authority of India (AAI) team inspected the site in June 2010. The state government subsequently filed an application with the civil aviation ministry for formal approval of the project after AAI okayed the proposed site. In February 2012, the union ministry of defence (MoD) had accorded site clearance for the project.
AAI suggested alternative site
AAI, which develops, finances, operates and maintains all government airports in the country, had in 2013 suggested Haryana to look for an alternative site, closely abutting the existing one at Bhaini Bhairon in Rohtak for the proposed Greenfield cargo airport.
An AAI team led by its executive director undertook a fresh visit to the proposed site for the cargo airport in April 2013 and told there was a need for a landing strip of about 6 kilometers for facilitating landing of heavier and bigger aircrafts like Boeing 747- 400F, McDonnell Douglas 11-F and other wide bodied aircrafts.
The AAI was of the view that the proposed site was probably not suitable for raising an airstrip which can cater to bigger aircrafts and should be changed. It was also pointed out that the alignment of the airstrip was generally north-south. The state government subsequently filed a fresh application with Union civil aviation ministry for site clearance after identifying a site falling in Meham sub division of Rohtak and touching Hisar and Bhiwani districts.
Conflict of interest
In July 2012, the then Haryana chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, held a meeting with the Union civil aviation minister, Ajit Singh. Singh had told Hooda there were certain issues relating to the project in view of the commitments under the concession agreement executed with the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) which imposed restrictions on creation of additional facility within an aerial distance of 150 kilometres from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
For sorting out the issue a meeting was held between Hooda and Singh on July 27, 2012 wherein Chairman of GMR, GM Rao was also present. Various possibilities regarding setting up of the cargo airport at Meham were discussed and it was decided that the way forward for creation of cargo airport would be possible by initially undertaking a detailed feasibility study for assessing the passenger cargo and other value added services within the context of the concession agreement of DIAL with Government of India.