PM?s promise grounds babus
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's impromptu response to Parliamentarian Ashok Pradhan's request for an international airport has left the bureaucracy awaiting further instructions.Updated: Jan 10, 2006 02:55 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's impromptu response to Parliamentarian Ashok Pradhan's request for an international airport has left the bureaucracy awaiting further instructions.
Last week inaugurating the India Exposition Centre and Mart in Greater Noida, in response to a mention in Pradhan's speech on the need for an additional airport and a connection to the Delhi Metro in Greater Noida, the PM said he believed these were "legitimate aspirations" and promised to "pursue" the matter with his colleagues.
This, however, is quite different from the stated position on this issue so far. Neither the Ministry of Civil Aviation nor the Airports Authority of India have taken up the matter of a separate international airport in Greater Noida with any interest till now. The line of thinking was that with the modernisation of Delhi Airport, the region would not require any new airport for the next 50 years.
Ministry sources confirmed that this kind of capacity handling, be it passenger and cargo traffic, parking facilities, runways or merely infra-structural facilities to cater to large volumes of traffic "are in fact among the basic requirement criteria based on which bids for Delhi and Mumbai airport are being evaluated".
The PM's remarks — though they were tempered by the comment "in due course of time, this region (Greater Noida) is entitled to share in these facilities — have come as a surprise to several officials who say they have no clue what happens next.
In 2003, the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government had created much hype about the Rs 5,000-crore mega project for an international airport in Greater Noida, but was shot down on technical grounds every time by the Centre. The official reason was that no other international airport is required within a 100-km periphery of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Sources said though no formal instructions had been received from any quarter yet, it is likely that the UP administration will be asked to move a fresh proposal based on which a technical study is likely to be conducted. Any further movement can only take place after a fresh technical study is completed, sources told the Hindustan Times.
The original project mooted by the state government proposed an international airport and aviation hub on a 1,000-hectare plot near Jewar, Greater Noida, to be operational by 2008.