M A I N   N E W S

AAI approval for Mohali airport
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
In a significant decision for Punjab, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has formally approved the proposed Mohali international airport. The decision was conveyed to the Punjab government today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s office said.

In a communication to the Punjab government, the AAI said it had also approved the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the draft for which had been prepared by the state government. The AAI has further confirmed that the joint survey team which had conducted a feasibility study for an international airport in the region had firmed up the actual land requirement for the project. It has also finalised the master plan of the venture.

According to the findings of the survey team, an area of 300 acres has been fixed as the land required for completing the total facility. Keeping in mind future requirements, the development plan will provide for operating standard international flight carriers. The plan also includes the construction of parallel taxi track and extension of runway at the existing defence airbase, says the AAI communication.

The state government and the joint venture partner would coordinate with the Chandigarh Administration in the acquisition of the requisite land. The MoU will be signed by the GMADA (Greater Mohali Area Development Authority). The MoU will require a formal clearance from the union ministry of civil aviation.

A request is now being sent to the Defence Secretary by the AAI for formalising approval to the level of the international airport, including provision for cargo facility. The defence ministry had agreed in principle to the airport at the high-level meeting in September.

The MoU is likely to be signed within a month but GAMADA will proceed with the acquisition process straightaway in the wake of today’s communication. The airport is considered to be the idea of SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal. In a statement, today Badal described AAI approval as “a major landmark in the modernisation of the infrastructure in the state”.



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