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Mall & hotel on airport radar

The new domestic terminal of Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, June 23: The Biju Patnaik Airport, which has got an international tag, is all set to have an eight-storey shopping complex-cum-budget hotel on a four-acre plot near the parking lot.

Airport director Sharad Kumar said the project would be executed on build-own-transfer (BOT) basis with the developing agency building and operating the twin facilities for a certain period. Later, the AAI would take it over.

However, the AAI is yet to select a company for executing the project.

Sources said that the selection process might take six months. They said there was no problem in making an eight-storeyed structure because it fell outside the flight path of the aircraft coming in or going out of the airport.

The airport authorities, meanwhile, have floated the tender for a cloakroom of 100sqft near the parking lot.

“People can keep their luggage in the cloakroom and visit nearby places after landing in Bhubaneswar. This will be of great help for travellers who wish to see places such as Puri without staying there as they have a flight to catch again,” said an AAI official.

Kumar told The Telegraph that a room on each floor of the new domestic terminal had been kept for mothers to feed their infants. Agencies involved with child-care services will be roped in by the AAI to maintain these rooms.

While the development of the mall-cum-hotel complex will take some time, the AAI has decided to earmark a 1,700sqft space for a multi-brand store, where the passengers can buy products of reputed international brands. The process of issuing the tender for the outlet is under way.

“There is also a plan to open a multi-brand garment shop at the airport within a month,’’ Kumar said. A gift shop and one selling high-end leather accessories will also come up in an area of 120 sqft within the new domestic terminal at the city airport.

Nihar Das, a frequent traveller, who is based in Singapore, said: “The idea of a budget hotel-cum-shopping mall is good. It will save a lot of time for people like me.”

He, however, wanted the AAI and the state government to start international flights from Bhubaneswar at the earliest.

The consumer-friendly facilities at the airport now include a multi-cuisine restaurant, spa, food kiosks and jewellery shops run by private entrepreneurs. The state government opened outlets of Boyanika that sells Odisha’s premium handloom products and Utkalika, which showcases state’s handicrafts.

The scheduled caste and scheduled tribes development department also opened an outlet called the ‘Tribal World’ during the bahuda yatra last year to showcase and market exclusive tribal products. The outlet is located near the arrival lounge.