The decks have finally been cleared for Uttar Pradesh’s much-awaited Noida International Greenfield Airport at Jewar. After years of procrastination, the ministry of civil aviation, during a steering committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday, gave an in-principle approval to the proposed airport in Gautam Budh Nagar. According to the detailed project report (DPR) and techno-economic feasibility report (TEFR) for the project, which has been prepared by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, 1,441 hectares of land is proposed to be acquired in eight villages for the airport.
The work for the project will be taken up in four phases at an approximate cost of Rs 15,754 crore and two runways would be built, which would have a capacity to handle 70 million passengers annually, along with capacity to handle 3 million metric tonnes of cargo every year.
The report also suggested that the cost of acquiring land in the area would require at least Rs 4,000 crore and an additional Rs 3,500 crore would be utilised for constructing the airport. According to sources in the government, the state, as well as central governments, are keen to start the project before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and have the airport running before the Yogi Adityanath government completes its term in 2022. “The airport will be built in four phases and the first phase is expected to be operational by 2022,” said an official, adding that the airport will open with an annual capacity of 1.2 crore passenger per annum.
It may be mentioned that the project has been a talking point for almost 17 years now. It was first conceived by the Rajnath Singh government in 2001 and then pushed hard by the Mayawati government since she came to power in the state in 2007. However, the choppy relations between the UPA government at the Centre and Mayawati saw the project being grounded over ‘legal issues’. The GMR Group, too, which had bagged the award for modernising the IGI Airport in Delhi, had put a spanner by stating that the Jewar airport project would violate the ministry’s rule of a 150-km distance between an existing airport and a new one.
To ensure the work does not face any hurdles, the site clearance was given promptly after the in-principle approval some months ago. “The bidding process is likely to start by July. We hope to award the project to a concessionaire by September and the foundation stone-laying ceremony will take place in October. The actual construction on site should begin by February-March 2019,” said the official, requesting anonymity.