The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quiet work on airport plan

New Delhi, May 28: The central government is quietly working on Calcutta airport’s revamp even as ideological battles are fought over whether airports should be modernised by private parties or in the public sector.

Under the plan, costing Rs 750 crore, a two-phase modernisation will be carried out at the airport. The components of the project are a fully automated international cargo terminal, expansion and strengthening of the runways to be able to take bigger aircraft and addition of a second module to the domestic terminal.

Civil aviation ministry officials said the plans “are already being implemented... we are just not showcasing them, that’s all”.

Aeroports de Paris’s engineering and architecture arm, which had been mandated to prepare the plan, has submitted proposals for a 50-foot-high steel and glass international airport building.

Once the design is finalised, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will float tenders in two to three months.

Construction, which is expected to cost about Rs 170 crore, will take 30-36 months.

Officials said the Centre was open to allowing the airport to be developed by the government-owned AAI or as a joint sector project, but the decision will “depend on what its ally, the Left, wants”. The Left wants the AAI to do it.

Calcutta will be developed as a hub for flights to Southeast and East Asia, especially for cargo.

The costliest part of the makeover will be the new module to be added to the domestic terminal, estimated at Rs 500 crore.

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