Thursday, December 10, 2020

IAF set to give 2.5 acres to Pune airport for vaccine storage

Pune: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to transfer 2.5 acres of its land to Pune airport authorities within a week to improve storage, and transport, of the Covid vaccine developed by the city-based Serum Institute of India.

Pune MP Girish Bapat, who heads the Pune airport advisory committee, made the announcement shortly after a meeting on Wednesday he had with senior officials from the Ministry Of Defence (MoD) in Delhi.

He said, “I was informed that around a fortnight ago, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the MoD had met to discuss land transfer. The MoD made it clear that if land it owns needs to be transferred to another agency or department, it would need land in exchange. It was then decided at the meeting that in exchange of the 2.5 acres near Pune airport, the IAF would be given a plot and a vacant building in Chandigarh.”

Bapat said the land transfer process is expected to be swift. “We will get an approval soon. Within a week, the IAF will provide permissions for the plot transfer to AAI Pune. A work order will then be issued to develop the cargo hold at the plot. The new area will be provided with the infrastructure to store and transport the vaccine safely,” he said.

An airport official said, “The 2.5-acre plot is located in front of the BSO (barrack store office) yard of the IAF, towards the airside of the airport. Talks of shifting the cargo area to this plot were on for almost a year, but things were stuck due to the land transfer process. But with Covid-19 and the vaccine development, work can be fast-tracked. The existing cargo hold will be dismantled.”

Aviation experts, however, said merely shifting the cargo hold for a vaccine, would not be enough.

10/12/20 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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