Maha budget: Proposed Purandar airport gets nominal amount to start work
The state budget 2020-21 has earmarked Rs 78 crore for Pune and Solapur airports. While the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) officials state that this is the nominal amount as against the Rs 600 crore which was promised earlier, experts say that this puts to rest the rumours about the project’s location.
During the 2020-21 budget speech, finance minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune district, declared Rs 78 crore as budgetary allocation for Pune and Solapur airports. This is in addition to the Rs 45 crore which the state government had announced during the last budget. However, officials at MADC state that the funds announced during the last budget are yet to be released. Anil Patil, vice-chairman and managing director, MADC said, “We are yet unsure of how much will Pune airport get from the stated amount.”
The proposed Purandar airport is a crucial airport to reduce the traffic and burden on Pune airport which is primarily a defence airport and has many restrictions on it.
The new airport is estimated to handle about 65 million passengers annually as against nine millions passengers that Pune airport recorded in 2019.
Patil said, “The new airport will have two runway as against the single runway which Pune’s Lohegaon airport has. The airport will run 24x7 as opposed to the shutdown period in Pune airport for defence operations and maintenance. Hence, it will increase cargo and passengers traffic for Pune district.”
During the last review meeting, Ajit Pawar had assured MADC officials of Rs 600 crore for the Purandar project which would have helped begin the land acquisition work. However, with this nominal amount MADC officials believe it would be difficult for other stakeholders to invest in the project.
A senior official at MADC said, “This is a very nominal amount which would not really help in starting the project. We are yet to get last budget allocated Rs 45 crore and with this nominal amount, we have not even got Rs 100 crore which is nominal for such a mega project. We might have to wait another year to get some more money.”
Patil said, “We have put forward about four methods through which land can be acquired but the state government is yet to approve which method to go ahead with the land acquisition.”
Aviation expert Dhairyasheel Vandekar said, “This allocation stabilizes the project that the designated area remains the same. With the government backing the project it would not be difficult for other investors to invest in the project. The Special Purpose Vehicle which will be formed for this will now work on getting investments and staring negotiation for land acquisition this budget allocation is appositive sign for the project.”