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Runway nearing completion at Bajpe Airport: Poojary

Written by: Staff

Mangalore, Mar 23: Work on the 2.45 km concrete runway, first of its kind in the country, being laid at the Bajpe airport here will be completed by this month-end, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member B Janardhan Poojary informed today.

Talking to reporters after taking them on a site visit at the Bajpe Airport here, he said the work on the runway was almost completed, except for electrical and mechanical works. All electrical equipment was expected from abroad by April ten.

The Civil Aviation ministry had sanctioned Rs 55 crore towards the runway project, of which Rs 40 crore had been spent so far, Mr Poojary, Parliamentary Standing Committee member on Transport and Civil Aviation, informed.

Stressing the need for completing the airport expansion project at the earliest in view of the Rs 50,000 crore SEZ project coming up in Mangalore, he urged the state government to expedite the process of acquiring 55 acres of land for setting up the terminal building.

It should take steps to hand over the already acquired 35 acres of land to the Airports Authority of India immediately so that work could be completed fast. ''If it delayed the process any further, Mangalore stands to lose the international airport project,'' he cautioned.

A private party was ready to invest Rs 600 crore for building an international airport at Cannanore, he revealed.

Mr Poojary informed that the Civil Aviation ministry was keen on completing the project fast and commencing operations of international flights from the airport. The first flight was expected from Sharjah. However, no date had been yet fixed for the arrival, he added. He said he would also impress upon the Railway Minister for opening a railway station near the airport for the convenience of passengers from Kerala, particularly from Kasargod and Cannanore.

Mr Poojary said the minister concerned should personally visit as many as 76 families displaced due to the land acquisition and assure them that they would be suitably compensated.

Assuring the Ministry's support for expediting the project, he said there was no dearth of funds for construction of the terminal building.

To a question, he admitted that the Dharam Singh government had shown laxity in land acquisition process, despite having surplus funds to the tune of Rs 4,700 crore. Airport was one of the most important infracstructure facility required in the backdrop of huge investment flowing into the district.

Defending the Centre's move to privatise airports in the country, Mr Poojary clarified that such a decision was taken due to scarcity of funds to develop airports. However, the government was taking steps to maintain reservation of jobs, even after privatisation.


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