Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pune needs two airports, new one in 3-4 years: CM Devendra Fadnavis

Pune: Chief minister on Friday said the city would require two airports. While the construction of the new state-of-the-art airport at Purandar would be completed in three or four years, the existing international airport at Lohegaon would be expanded, he observed.
Replying to a text message by TOI about the expansion of the Lohegaon airport, the chief minister said, "We require both airports. The expansion can be done in a year."
Fadnavis' reaction comes a couple of days after defence minister Manohar Parrikar gave an in-principle nod to transfer 18 acres of defence land to the Lohegaon airport for its expansion. In May last year, the ministry of defence had approved the transfer of 15.84 acres to the airport. But the actual transfer is yet to be done.
The chief minister had said during the announcement of the Purandar airport late last year that the facility would be ready by 2019. But earlier this week, Pune's guardian minister Girish Bapat said the airport would take five years to come up and so the expansion of the Lohegaon airport was necessary.
Of late, authorities have been stressing on the expansion of the Lohegaon airport apparently because land acquisition for the Purandar airport and announcement of the compensation package for those giving up their land are pending. Last week, senior officials of the Mumbai region of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) came to Pune to discuss with the Indian Air Force authorities the land transfer process and the expansion of the airport.
25/02/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India