Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tea land offer for Bagdogra airport

Calcutta/Siliguri: The Bengal government has informed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that it can arrange over 70 acres from a tea garden for the Bagdogra airport's expansion, but the central entity must compensate the estate's owners.

The expansion of the airport in Siliguri has been stuck for the past few years for want of land and the state government had pleaded helplessness citing its hands-off land policy.

The airport has seen a record rise in passengers in recent years following a spurt in the number of daily flights, which stands at 26 now.

"The state government has sent a letter to the AAI informing it that land could be made available for the project but for this, the authority has to compensate the tea garden owners," said a senior state official.

While the state is optimistic about a breakthrough, the compensation clause has caught AAI officials off-guard, said a source.

"The AAI usually develops infrastructure only when the land is provided free of cost by the state government concerned. If the state wants us to pay compensation, we have to take it up at higher levels in the ministry of civil aviation," the source said.

According to senior state officials, the AAI had sent a proposal for expansion of the Bagdogra airport a couple of years back.
10/06/18 Pranesh Sarkar and Avijit Sinha/Telegraph