Construction of new airport to begin by 2015

Taking ahead the pending new international airport plan for Pune in the Chakan-Rajgurunagar belt, central and state government officials have given "in principle" approval for the existing site and have asked district officials to conduct a techno-feasibility study by February end. They also set 2015 as deadline for starting the airport construction.

The officials on Friday conducted an aerial survey of the belt followed by a two-hour closed-door meeting where divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh and district collector Vikas Deshmukh were also present.

Among those who conducted the aerial survey included the secretary civil aviation K N Srivastava, joint secretary civil aviation Alok Sinha and Airports Authority of India chairman VP Agarwal.

The meeting decided that the airport construction should start by 2015 and the techno-feasibility study and obstacle survey completed by the end of February 2013.

"This will help us decide the villages to be acquired for the proposed airport. However, rehabilitation will be in the same belt," said senior officials who attended the meet.

It was also decided that minimum villages should be acquired and irrigated land should not be acquired. The belt from Shiroli, Dhamne, Koye, Pait, Raundharwadi will be reviewed and assessed by the team conducting the techno-feasibility study. It was also decided that the government would allocate Rs 1,000 crore for land acquisition. The government has already allocated Rs 200 crore as seed money.

"The proposed airport will have two parallel runways each 6 km long. The site will be in the same area," said an official.

Officials said the next two years will see planning, design and environmental clearances for the proposed project and it will not be before 2015 that they can actually start the project. "The project has already suffered a delay of 10 years,'' said the official.

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