Runway extension on radar
Ranchi: The state government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) are expected to soon sign an MoU for transfer of land to extend the existing runway at Birsa Munda Airport and set up an additional terminal building and other amenities.
Ranchi airport director Anil Vikram told this correspondent on Tuesday that the AAI was in touch with the Raghubar Das government for over 300 acres needed to lengthen the 2,713-metre-long solo runway. He, however, could not say how much land was being looked at for the annexe building.
"A proposal for an MoU has been sent to the state (transport department) sometime ago. The AAI has its own regulations for land acquisition while the government too has its own set of norms. So, both parties are carefully assessing terms and conditions to suit all stakeholders," he said.
Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, during his Skill Summit address in Ranchi last week, too had mentioned the plan to expand Birsa Munda Airport and make it future-ready.
Vikram said they were also in the process of swapping land with the army, which has a base near Birsa airport.
Another airport official explained that both parties (the AAI and the army) had land, but not contiguous. "So, in principle, they have agreed to swap plots for mutually benefit and better monitoring. A few rounds of field tours have been undertaken in recent times to finalise the transfer," he said.
Ranchi deputy commissioner Manoj Kumar, on the other hand, said the district administration had in totality identified and acquired close to 400 acres of land for the airport project.
"Acquisition work began in 2008-09 and it is finally over now. In the first phase, we gave the AAI around 40-45 acres for a new terminal building. Thereafter, in a phased manner, we identified some 350-plus acres for the airport expansion. Finally, five months ago, we apprised the state transport department of completing land acquisition work at our end," Kumar said.