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Deal with Changi on Durgapur airport

Calcutta, Feb. 27: Singapore’s Changi Airports International today signed an agreement with the developers of an airport in Andal near Durgapur.

Under the “technical services agreement”, Changi will play a key role in preparing the master plan for the airport and provide technical knowhow for its management and operations.

“The master plan is very important. We will also supervise airport capacity, land-use plan, passenger terminal layout and other infrastructure facilities,” Eugene Gan, the senior vice-president (worldwide operations) of the Singapore company, said after the pact was signed in the presence of civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

“Training will be imparted to the airport’s senior managers on terminal management,” Gan added.

Durgapur Aerotropolis (airport city), the first of its kind in India, will also have an industrial park and a township with all amenities like schools, colleges, shopping zones and healthcare facilities.

It will be spread over 2,300 acres, of which the airport will cover 650.

“The first phase will be built at a cost of Rs 150 crore. However, with Changi involved, the cost can be revised,” said Partha Ghosh, the director of Bengal Aerotropolis Projects, the developer.

Officials of the company hinted that Changi, which has been involved in developing over 40 airports, might formally enter into a joint venture for the project.

Patel said a draft had been finalised to make rules easier for private participation in airport projects.

A steering committee that includes Patel and the Planning Commission deputy chairman was formed recently to formulate the guidelines for private investors.

“We want agencies like the army and local governments on the committee. This will help private developers get a single-window clearance,” the minister explained.

He said airports run by the Airports Authority of India will not be handed over to private operators for development. However, there are over 40 non-operational airports under the authority. In Bengal, there are two of them — in Malda and Balurghat.

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