After a delay of almost a decade and a half, a second international airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) is likely to be a reality, with the civil aviation ministry granting an in-principle approval to the Jewar project in Greater Noida weeks ago. The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh aims to operationalise the airport in the next five-six years. The state’s 2030 Master Plan has notified 3,000 hectares for the purpose. “The project would see an investment of about Rs 20,000 crore and be developed in four phases. It would have four runways, four taxi-ways and terminal buildings, apart from passenger facilities,” says an official, adding the state government has applied for environmental clearance and is working on procurement of land. “We have to get a fresh techno-feasibility report done and then submit a DPR to the ministry. After that we will go for the selection of the developer,” he says. The department expects all clearances as well as the selection of the developer to be completed in a year’s time.
According to Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, the greenfield airport at Jewar would fly 30-50 million passengers per year over the next 10-15 years. It would also serve neighbouring cities and towns like Agra, Bulandsahar, and Meerut. Needless to say, it would ease congestion at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi.Arun Vir Singh, CEO of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) says, “we will develop 1,250 hectares of land in the first phase and 3,000 overall. In fact, it would be more than an airport project, also serving as a cargo centre and a logistics hub, and would connect with the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways and the Railway Freight Corridor.” The project has the potential to change the topography of the region. “Western UP would be on a different plank as far as development is concerned,” Singh says.
The airport has been a long-cherished dream for many in the state. “An infrastructure intervention of this scale is likely to have a multiplier effect on the economy of the region, especially in the tourism, industrial, ITeS and commercial sectors. The realty market in Noida and Greater Noida is expected to become vibrant again,” says an official.The Jewar project was first mooted by the BJP-led government in UP in 2001, and pushed after Mayawati came to power in the state in 2007. However, the uneven ties between the UPA government at the Centre and the Mayawati government saw the project being shot down over ‘legal issues’. Significantly, the GMR Group that was modernising the IGI Airport in Delhi had held the project would violate the ministry’s rule of a 150-km radial distance between an existing airport and a new one. The Akhilesh Yadav government which succeeded Mayawati’s put the project on the backburner. Now with a BJP government at the Centre, it is no coincidence that the project got cleared just a month after the party won power in UP.