Thursday, October 05, 2017

Creating efficient airports network is our goal, says ‘infrastructure man’ Guruprasad Mohapatra

Guruprasad Mohapatra, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer of 1986 batch, is known as an ‘infrastructure man’ due to several unique projects he has executed in Gujarat. His list includes projects like the Sabarmati River Front at Ahmedabad and the BRTS. Be it the power sector, urban development or industry, Mohapatra has excelled in most of the assignments. During his tenure as the Municipal Commissioner in Surat and Ahmedabad, he played an integral role in changing the face of these cities. As the chairman of Airports of Authority of India (AAI) for close to a year, he is now trying to ensure that air travel is made comfortable, at least at airports, for the growing number of passengers in India. Mohapatra shares his journey with Free Press Journal’s Abhilash Khandekar.

PM is talking of a New India by 2022. How are you going to grow by that time—infrastructure-wise?

We work as per the civil aviation policy. With the projected growth of 22 per cent in the number of air travellers, we have both challenges and opportunities on our hand. As a sole agency for construction of airports and facilitation, AAI’s challenge is to cope with the emerging problems of increased air traffic management, air space utility and passengers conveniences on ground at all domestic and international airports of the country. When I say opportunities, it means gearing up to professionalise our services and modernise our equipment to meet the growing demand.
What are your modernisation plans?

Increasingly, all the airports related technologies in the world are focussing on the crucial aspect of safety in air and the passenger conveniences at the ground. We are working overtime to improve airports quality from every angle.

Air Navigation Services (ANS) is the thrust area. We already have automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) at more than 20 airports and Advance Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems (ASMGCS) at five airports to upgrade surveillance capability not only at the airports but also in the vicinity. Additionally, GAGAN—GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation and CATFM—Central Air Traffic Flow Management and automation systems for air traffic control are in place. As more and more new airports are being planned and executed, such essential services will require constant improvements.

When will Navi Mumbai airport be completed?

It is an idea conceived by the Maharashtra Government and they will implement it. As you may realise the airport ownership in India is mixed one. Some are Airforce-run airports where we have civil enclaves, like the recently upgraded Jammu Airport or the Pune airport which is not AAI property. In Pune, we are looking at our own airport in immediate future. Likewise, some state governments have their own infrastructure and Navi Mumbai is one of them. Such infrastructure would help ease the pressure on the existing airport in some way.
05/10/17 Abhilash Khandekar/Free Press Journal

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