Rs 7,000-crore Chakan airport: new deadline is 2014

The Rs 7,000-crore New Chakan International Airport in Pune will be operational only by 2014, a good three years after the 2011 deadline repeatedly being spelt out by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel during his numerous visits to the city.

A meeting called last week by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on new airports in the state discussed Nanded and Shirdi airports but there was no talk about the Chakan airport.

Vice-chairman and managing director of Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) R C Sinha, who was also present at the meeting, said, "There was no mention of the Chakan airport in the meeting. We can see Chakan airport fully operational only by 2014," he said. The project has been lying dormant for the two years.

The MADC is keen to appoint consultants for a techno-feasibility study but the funds proposed by the government has not yet been disbursed. "The government had promised seed money of Rs 200 crore early this year but the MADC till date has received only Rs 50 crore. We are hopeful to get the remaining amount soon so that the work gets going," said Sinha.

With the land acquisition process running into opposition from local residents, the MADC has also to work out fresh modalities of acquisition and rehabilitation, which they are hopeful of sorting out in the coming year. Nearly 3,330 hectares have to be acquired for the project from seven villages in Pune district.

In May, the MADC had floated tenders for appointing consultants for the techno-economic study and the deadline for submission was October. A senior MADC officer said though the consultants are being finalised, the company could face problems on the fee front. The consultants are being hired to carry out the detailed planning of the infrastructure system as well as design the project and obtain approvals from the ministry concerned. "With no fund, clearances in hand, it will take time to see the airport fully operational," he said.

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