Cabinet nod for international airport at Kannur

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (UNI) The Cabinet today gave its ''in principle'' approval for setting up of a greenfield international airport at Kanur, Kerala, at a cost of Rs 929.50 crore and cleared the proposal for upgrading the Nagpur airport to a world class passenger and cargo hub.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) would invest Rs 4.9 crore in the form of equity in a joint venture to be finalised between the Centre and the Maharashtra Government for developing the Nagpur Airport.

The project would also benefit the drought-hit Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, which has high incidences of suicide among farmers burdened with heavy debt, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

About the Kanur Airport, he said it would be built on 2,000 acre of land through public private partnership (PPP) in relaxation of the policy on airport infrastructure relating to greenfield airports.

The proposed airport would have a single 13,000-feet runway capable of taking in aircraft of almost any size.

It would not only promote tourism and trade in Northern Kerala, but also act as a cargo hub for perishable cargo such as cut flowers, vegetables, fruits and sea food.

With this move, Kerala is now on track to having the most number of international airports in the country at an average of one every 130 km.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has already indicated that the airport would be constructed broadly along the lines of the highly successful Nedumbassery airport in Kochi.

Mr Dasmunsi said the estimated project cost of Rs 929.5 crore excluded costs pertaining to land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation which would be borne by the Kerala Government.

A Joint Venture Company (JVC) between KINFRA, a Kerala Government entity with 26 per cent equity participation and a private strategic partner with 74 per cent equity participation, would be set up to implement the project.

The selection of the strategic partner would be done by the Kerala Government with help from the Centre.

Airport Operator would invest 30 per cent of the total required capital investment and the balance would be through debt financing.

No equity participation has been sought from the AAI.

The Centre and the State Government would not sign any concession agreement with the JVC.

However, since the underlying assets belong to the State Government, it would give concessions to the JVC in respect of land, indicating its terms and conditions as well as such other conditions that it would wish to impose.

The traffic risk would be borne by the private developer who would undertake his own due diligence in the matter.

Certain activities at the airport such as security, air traffic control, customs and immigration would be reserved for the Central agencies.

Provision of these services would be on cost recovery basis and the airport operator would enter into agreement with the respective agencies.

Necessary provisions would need to be made by relevant government agencies to ensure that there was sufficient capacity to provide these services, as and when required.

UNI YJ PB RN1923

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