Saturday, August 13, 2016

Runway expansion: State has little choice

The stand of the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that the runway at the Calicut International Airport should be expanded first to enable the return of wide-bodied aircraft, has left the State government with the sole option of acquiring the land needed for it.

Even as the government said it would consider the views of landowners opposing the acquisition, the stress on runway expansion leaves it with no choice.

This was the message that emerged from meeting that Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and the DGCA had with MPs from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts on August 10 in New Delhi.

Mr. Raju had made it clear during his visit here on January 30 that the DGCA was firm that the runway must be expanded, as the existing length of 2,850 metres was inadequate, and, therefore, unsafe for large aircraft to operate.

It had to be extended to 3,627 metres, according to him.
Welcoming the Union Minister’s August 10 statement, Malabar Chamber of Commerce president C. Mohan said here on Friday that the rehabilitation package offered by the State government was “too attractive for landowners to reject”.

The package has been estimated at Rs.14,000 crore for acquiring 385 acres, providing alternative house sites and for implementing development projects in those areas.

The acquired land is meant for runway and terminal expansion.
13/08/16 KV Prasad/The Hindu
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