Airport gets bigger wingspan

Cabinet also clears land for Bihta facility

By Nishant Sinha & Ramashankar
  • Published 16.11.16

Decks have been cleared for the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport's expansion after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Bihar government sealed an agreement on Tuesday.

Later in the day, the state cabinet approved the cabinet secretariat department's proposal to hand over 11.5 acres of land to AAI for the expansion work.

The cabinet also decided to hand over 108 acres of land at Bihta to AAI for construction of another airport to deal with the rise in passenger inflow, principal secretary, cabinet co-ordination department, Brajesh Mehrotra said.

"With the state government and Indian Air Force's cooperation, we have found a solution to the problem of congestion at Patna airport," secretary, ministry of civil aviations, R. N. Choubey said,

Under the land swap agreement, the state government will provide 11.5 acres of land near Patna airport to AAI in lieu of equal measure of land to be given by AAI to the Bihar government elsewhere.

Expansion work of Patna airport will be carried out in two phases.

The first phase is likely to begin by mid-July and be completed by 2019 after which work on the second phase will start, to be completed by 2021. The AAI board last month gave its consent for transfer of around 11.5 acres of land at Anisabad to the Bihar government in return for equal area at the state hangar, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) depot and land owned by the Special Task Force (STF) adjacent to the airport.

"In the first phase, work on the terminal building will be taken up followed by other operational requirements at an investment of Rs 500 crore. This will involve passenger capacity of up to 1.5 million," Choubey said.

The second phase, the Union civil aviation secretary said "will cost another Rs 350 crore, to take care of another 1.5 million passengers."

After both phases, Patna airport passenger capacity will increase three times to 4.5 million.

"The new re-developed airport will be state-of-the-art, complete with ultra-modern facilities like night parking for aircrafts," Choubey said, adding the new airport will be energy-efficient in design.

Regarding the airport at Bihta, the state cabinet at its meeting today approved transfer of 108 acres of land to AAI. The whole land has been provided to AAI free of cost.

"We expect to start work on the Bihta airport by end of next year, probably by September 2017," Choubey said.

"The project, which will cost Rs 500 crore, will take about two years to complete. We expect Bihta airport to be ready for passenger use, with a capacity of 2.5 million, by October 2019. Depending on growth of traffic, we have decided to undertake a second phase of expansion at Bihta that will cater to another 2.5 million passengers, doubling to 5 million total."

The civil aviation secretary further said that increased passenger capacity at Patna and Bihta will then stand at 9 million, six times what it is now, and will easily take care of passenger inflow for the next 15-20 years.

Choubey, AAI officials and Indian Air Force (IAF) officers later visited Purnea to explore the possibility of a regional airport there.

The AAI and IAF team held discussions on land requirement and its location during their visit.

AAI also plans to develop terminal buildings at the IAF airbase at Purnea and Darbhanga. An AAI team will visit Darbhanga on November 21.

Putting an end to speculation on expansion of Gaya airport, the Union civil aviation secretary said: "As Gaya airport does not get enough footfall, further expansion is not required. Facilities presently available there are adequate." The ministry asked Air India to explore possibility of starting a flight connecting Gaya and Varanasi though.

Cabinet decisions

The state cabinet on Tuesday also gave its nod to the transport department to amend fee under various provisions of Bihar Motor Vehicles Rules 1992. Earlier, the Rules were amended in 1994 and 1996.

The cabinet also approved the law department's proposal to appoint Patna High Court judge Justice Navniti Prasad Singh as working chairperson of the Bihar State Legal Aid Authority.

The cabinet also gave its nod to dissolve the 20-point programme committees at state, district and block levels and formation of new committees. The proposal in this regard was submitted by the cabinet coordination department. A total of 18 proposals were approved by the cabinet.