Monday, October 12, 2020

Bagdogra airport set for expansion

Siliguri/Darjeeling: The Airports Authority of India will spend around Rs 600 crore to build a new terminal and set up allied infrastructure at the Bagdogra airport, decks for whose expansion were cleared by the transfer of 104 acres of land by the Bengal government recently.

AAI sources told The Telegraph that the expansion would result in the 12-fold increase in the size of the terminal and a jump in the annual passenger traffic capacity by 17 times. “The present terminal is spread over around 8,000 square metres and after the expansion, the floor area will be increased to one lakh square metres. The building will have the capacity to handle 1.25 crore passengers a year,” said a source.

“The airport has seen a tremendous surge in passenger traffic because of an increase in the number of flights in recent years,” said the source.

But the paucity of space has been inconveniencing out-bound passengers.

Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, who is also the chairman of the Bagdogra Airport Advisory Committee, said the proposed expansion would change the travelling experience at Bagdogra. “I have been informed that all proposed diagrams and plans are ready. The proposed new terminal and allied infrastructure will radically change the travelling experience at Bagdogra,” said Bista.

Asked why the long-pending augmentation of the infrastructure was being delayed, the BJP MP said the Trinamul Congress-led state government had taken a long time to transfer the land required for the expansion to the AAI.

The sources said the AAI soon would apply for environmental clearance and complete other formalities to finalise the contract, a process that should be over in “six to nine months”.

12/10/20 Vivek Chhetri, Avijit Sinha/Telegraph

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