As March deadline nears, new international airport at Halwara gets closer to take off : The Tribune India

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As March deadline nears, new international airport at Halwara gets closer to take off

After Centre called for early completion, ongoing work expedited

As March deadline nears, new international airport at Halwara gets closer to take off

The upcoming new international airport at Halwara in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan



Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, February 23

With the fresh deadline of March approaching, the upcoming international airport at Halwara in Ludhiana is getting closer to take off, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has said.

TASKS CLEARED

  • Airport’s peripheral road crust finalised.
  • Apron and taxiway designs approved.
  • Specified designs for the IAF-governed areas submitted.
  • IAF nod to widen internal taxiways.

Project report

  • Total area: 161.28 acres
  • Terminal area: 2,000 square metres
  • Awarded cost: Rs 3,876.65 lakh
  • Boundary wall, approach road cost: Rs 309.33 crore
  • Missed deadlines: January, June 2022; June, July, August 15, August 30, September 30, October 30, 2023; February 2024
  • Fresh deadline: March 31

The ongoing work on the Rs 47-crore much-awaited and much-delayed big ticket project has been further expedited after the Union Government had last month asked the AAI to ensure early completion of the new international airport.

It was following a demand raised by the Rajya Sabha MP from Ludhiana, Sanjeev Arora, that the Union Civil Aviation Secretary, Vumlunmang Vualnam, had issued directions for early completion of the Centre-state joint venture.

While the integrated civil enclave and cargo terminal building, sub-station and toilet block at the Air Force Station in Halwara, which is one of the oldest frontline airbases of the Indian Air Force (IAF), close to Ludhiana, had already come up, the allied works of the major civil aviation project have progressed to advanced stage of completion.

After receiving all the pending nods, the work on all other components, which were stalled since long, had been put in top gear to ensure that the new international airport takes off by March 31.

Sharing details, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member in the Upper House from Punjab, Sanjeev Arora, told The Tribune on Friday that the ongoing construction work had already reached the advanced stage of completion with the overall progress of the mega project crossing the 98 per cent mark.

Arora, who reviewed the progress of the project recently, disclosed that the construction firm had committed to complete the ongoing works by March.

He said the state government had so far released a sum of Rs 30 crore to complete the ongoing balance work of the upcoming international airport and the demand of balance funds had already been forwarded to Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) and the Civil Aviation Department, which had been mandated to jointly bear the financial burden of the project.

Divulging the component-wise status, the Rajya Sabha MP said the construction of the interim terminal building, sub-station, and toilet block had been completed. All these three components of the new airport were being given finishing touches before handing these over to the AAI.

He said the balance work, which was allotted on April 13 last with a time limit of completion in five months, was scheduled to be completed by September 12, but due to the bad weather and delay in the mandatory nods, this job would now finish by March 31.

The components of balance works, including apron and taxiway had been completed 40 per cent each, while internal roads, lighting and public health works had touched the 75 per cent mark.While 55 per cent of the upcoming approach road to the airport campus had been completed, the work on bridge at entry of approach road and allied works inside the IAF base premises had also taken off.

With 15 per cent and five per cent completion, respectively, achieved so far, the bridge and the IAF premises works were also scheduled to finish by next month end.

“A proposal for enhancing the work of already engaged agencies has already been taken up by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry for approval,” Arora added.

Recently, the AAI and the IAF had granted in-principle approvals to undertake the balance work at the upcoming international airport.

Since the new integrated civil enclave and cargo terminal are coming up at Air Force Station in Halwara, the formal nod of the IAF was mandatory to undertake the work inside the Air Force-managed areas.

With this, all the pending approvals for the mega civil aviation project had been granted and the work to undertake the balance tasks had taken off on the ground.

Recently, Arora had called on the Civil Aviation Minister and Secretary and briefed them about the issues in details, following which the Centre had showed prompt response and accorded the formal approvals for the project, which were lying pending with his Ministry for a long time while those falling under the purview of the IAF were taken up with the Defence Ministry.

He said the IAF had also given its nod to widen the internal taxiways in the upcoming civil enclave.

Construction work divided into two verticals

The construction work of the project was divided into two verticals — construction of internal roads, estate public health services and campus lighting in the interim airport terminal and construction of interim airport terminal building.While the first vertical was allotted on November 8, 2021, the second was awarded on December 9, 2021. Both the works were stopped by the agencies in April and May, 2022, due to non-payment of funds by GLADA. The work had resumed on November 17 last after the state government had made available Rs 50-crore corpus for the project.

Close to take off, says Rajya Sabha MP

“The Centre’s push has further accelerated the pace of ongoing work as all approvals have already been granted. The pending work to build the new international airport has been taken up on a war-footing. We have already pulled all stops to complete the ambitious project, which is close to take off shortly,” the Rajya Sabha MP said. He said the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had already begun the process to launch the flight operations by the time a new airport comes up.

Rs 50-crore allocated by state government

Of the total allocation of Rs 50 crore by the state government, a sum of Rs 30 crore had already been transferred while the total requirement estimated so far was of Rs 45 crore. For this purpose, the Finance Department (FD) released a sum of Rs 30 crore while the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) through the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) had undertaken to bear the expenditure of Rs 20 crore.

Name proposed after martyr

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha had recently unanimously adopted a resolution to request the Centre to name the airport after Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha.

Moving the resolution during the Budget session, the Chief Minister had said it would be a humble tribute to the martyr who laid down his life for the motherland. He had said the martyr had been an inspiration for young generations.

Flights to start shortly, says Chief Minister

“We are in the process of making the airport operational shortly following which more domestic and new international flights will be launched from here. We have been providing all requisite support to finish the ongoing work at the earliest,” said Chieff Minister Bhagwant Mann.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.


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