In Agra-Mathura stretch, SP govt plans international airport

The UP government is exploring the possibility of setting up an international airport between Agra and Mathura in what could mean the end of the road for the Taj international airport proposed during the previous Mayawati regime.

Officials believe an airport between Agra and Mathura is a far better idea than the Taj international airport and aviation hub, proposed at Jewar near Delhi, and which is still awaiting clearance by the Centre.

The idea came up at a meeting called by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday to discuss infrastructure development in the two tourism cities.

A senior officer said: "Unlike the other proposed projects, this one is expected to find takers at all levels for three reasons. First, it is not in the vicinity of any existing airport, so there won't be objections on that front. Second, the footfall of international and domestic tourists in Agra and Mathura cannot be questioned. Third, the existing good connectivity of road with the national capital region adds to its

feasibility."

Congress MLA from Mathura Pradeep Mathur, who was invited by the CM to the meeting, was also impressed. "It is a much more feasible idea. I have proposed it to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh as well. He has asked the departments concerned to prepare the concept report and I have promised to pursue it with the Centre." Sources in the government said the tourism department had been asked to prepare the concept report and submit it by this

weekend.

At present, there are two proposed international airports in UP but the future of both looks uncertain.

One is the Jewar project that got the Centre's in-principle approval in 2003. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted a group of ministers to look into this but it did not reach any decision. A major objection to the project was that it is located within a 150 km radius of the existing Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

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