Deadline nears, construction of Halwara airport interim terminal yet to begin

Deadline nears, construction of Halwara airport interim terminal yet to begin

Airports Authority of India nod still awaited, tender not floated for Rs42.9-crore project file

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12

Less than four months are left to meet the deadline but the much-awaited construction of a new interim terminal building for the upcoming international airport at Halwara in Ludhiana is yet to begin.

So much so, even the tender has also not been floated as yet.

Reason: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) was yet to accord the final nod to begin the construction and the bidding document was not finalised so far.

The delay in granting the in-principle approval to the project, estimated to cost Rs 4,290.42 lakh, was likely to miss the January 2022 deadline set to make the airport operational.

Highly-placed sources privy to the development told The Tribune, here, on Tuesday, that the AAI was scheduled to take up the project approval at its board meeting scheduled for August 27, which was deferred to September 7, but the approval was still awaited.

“The AAI has just given the go-ahead to float the tender without allowing to allot the work,” disclosed a senior official, while adding that the bid document was being finalised and was likely to be floated within a couple of days.

As per the proposal, the terminal building has to be built over 2,000 square meters at an estimated cost of Rs 4,290.42-lakh.

Earlier, in a letter to Principal Secretary, Civil Aviation, Punjab, a copy of which is with The Tribune, the AAI Executive Director (Engineering) Northern Region, MNN Rao, had informed that the Ludhiana International Airport Limited (LIAL) at its board meeting held on June 30 had approved the proposal to construct the interim terminal building over 2,000 square meters at Halwara in Ludhiana by the state government through the government funds, which will be reimbursed to Punjab or its designated agency by the AAI after monetisation of its land at the existing Sahnewal airport in Ludhiana.

“Keeping in view the resolution passed by LIAL, the AAI will consider the proposal at an estimated cost of Rs 4,290-42-lakh, including 12 per cent GST, at its 202nd board meeting, which is scheduled to be held on August 27,” Rao had said.

The AAI ED had made it clear that based on the approved estimated cost, the stated government can initiate the tender action but work can be awarded only after approval of the AAI board.

Divulging the progress report, ADC (General), Rahul Chaba, said a teleconference was held between the state and AAI senior functionaries on August 4, wherein it was decided to send a detailed notice inviting tenders (DNIT) of interim terminal building to the AAI for vetting, which was still under progress.

Already, the construction of the airport link road and the boundary wall has been completed.

In a bid to give a boost to the industrial and economic activity in the state, the state government and the AAI are jointly setting up a new international civil terminal at the Air Force Station in Halwara, which is one of the oldest frontline air bases of the Indian Air Force (IAF), close to Ludhiana.

The development assumes significance as Ludhiana is state’s largest industrial and business city with a population of nearly 4 million, which is at present serviced by a small airport at Sahnewal. The city also has the advantage of being at the geographical centre of the state.

The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) had acquired land measuring 161.28 acres, including 135.54 acres for airport and 25.74 acres for future development.

While the work on the construction of 3-meter-high with 660-mm thick punch tape concertina and barbed wire fencing has been completed by the PWD (B&R) at Rs 301.16 lakh provided by GLADA, the widening and strengthening of the existing 5.1-km link road from Aitiana village to the international airport from the existing 10-feet to 18-feet width has been completed by the Punjab Mandi Board at Rs 8.17 crore. The work also included the construction of two bridges, each of 8-meter span, on the Halwara drain.

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