UP to seek DGCA nod for Taj airport

India, June 21 -- The state government will soon file an application with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the union defence ministry to get a first stage approval to set up a greenfield international airport at Kurikupa (near Hirangaon) in Tundla tehsil of Firozabad. This application will be filed under the union government's Greenfield Airport Guidelines2008.

"We will soon file the application with the DGCA and the defence ministry following the state cabinet's nod to the Hirangaon site for the proposed Greenfield Taj International Airport project," said secretary, Tourism, Sanjiv Saran.

As the Taj International Airport is another ambitious project of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, the state government considered nearly eight sites to avoid objections on technical grounds. Finally, the choice narrowed down to Hirangaon, 25 kilometres from Agra.

"This site is nearly 195 km away from the IGI New Delhi. So, the state government will not have to seek any relaxation required for a greenfield airport that is set up within a 150km radius of an international airport," said Saran, adding, "once set up, the new airport will pave the way for economic development in Agra, Mathura and Firozabad."

After seeking the preliminary approval from the DGCA and the defence ministry, the state government will move ahead to get a feasibility report to implement the project under the public private partnership (PPP) model.

As per estimates, the new airport will require private investment of about Rs. 1000 crore to Rs. 1200 crore. Its proposed airstrip of 4500 metres is longest in the country. It will be extendable to 6000 metres, if so required at any stage.

The state government will need about 3700 acres of land for the airport. About 1200 acres of degraded forestland is already there and 500 acres of government land will also be available for it. The remaining land will be acquired in the nearby areas. "This site requires minimum displacement. Only four villages with low population will be displaced by the project," said a senior officer.

Asked about the Congress' opposition to the site and the demand to set up the airport on Agra-Mathura road, another officer said the state government had considered all other options before finalising this site.

The Agra-Mathura road site was too close to Mathura Refinery and approach of the aircraft would have been within its 10 km range, said the officer. "The air funnel of the new site is parallel to the Kheria airport in Agra. Thus, there will be no clash in the air funnel of the two airports," he said.

Earlier, the Mayawati government had proposed an international airport project near Jewar in Greater Noida but it did not get the centre's nod as this was within a 150-km radius of the IGI airport. The Samajwadi Party government, however, scrapped the project and appointed consultants to select a new site.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.