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|October 16, 1998||
Tatas open to refeasibility study for Bangalore airport project, says aviation minister
Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar on Thursday said in Udupi, Karnataka, that the Tatas had expressed inclination to have a refeasibility study of the controversial international airport project near Bangalore.
He said his ministry had agreed in principle to the project, earlier proposed to be taken up jointly by the Tatas and the Karnataka government.
He said the new airport terminal at the Bajpe Airport with airconditioning facility and modern conveyer belt system would be inaugurated on November 1. Civil aviation authorities had provided Rs 8.5 million for the purpose, while the Canara Chamber of Commerce, Mangalore, and public have contributed Rs 1.5 million, he added.
He said with installation of Rs 25 million instrumentation landing facility at the Bajpe Airport, it had become one among the 32 airports having such a facility in the country.
He said the ministry had earmarked Rs 17.5 million for the construction of 9,500 feet new runway for landing Boeing flights at the airport. For this 730 acres land was required. If the state government came forward to hand over the land, the Centre would soon take up the project, he added.
Kumar's annoucement comes on the heels of Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramiah's appeal on Tuesday to the Union government to take up the Bangalore airport project on its own, if the Tatas failed led to respond to the fresh initiatives from the state government and the Centre.
He said a mere green signal for the project by the Centre was not enough. If the Tatas failed to respond to the government's invitation or pulled out of the project, the Centre should execute the project along with state government, he added.
The airport project, which has been hanging fire for the last five years, was almost shelved by the Tatas a few months back as the consortium partners, the Singapore Consortium and Raytheon International, had backed out stating that the long delay had pushed up the cost of the project, making it unviable.
However, following fresh initiatives from the civil aviation ministry and the personal initiative of Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel, the Tatas have agreed to reconsider their decision. But no no positive signal was forthcoming till date.
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