Saturday, January 02, 2021

Bridge over Mindhola creek spurs talk of airport at Navsari

Surat: Dream of the Surtis to get a new greenfield airport in Navsari’s Jalalpore taluka is set to take wings. With Gujarat government approving the construction of the Rs 217 crore bridge on Mindhola creek connecting Abhava village in Surat and Ubhrat in Navsari district, the alternate airport proposed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) could be a reality.

The AAI and the Gujarat government have jointly shifted their focus on the Vansi Borsi village in Jalalpore taluka of Navsari, where about 1,100 hectares of government-owned land was identified for developing a greenfield airport in 2018.

The proposed bridge over Mindhola creek will reduce the distance from Surat to Navsari from 42 km to less than 15 km.

A senior AAI officer on condition of anonymity said, “Bridge over Mindhola creek will pave the way for a new greenfield airport at Navsari. AAI was the first to propose alternate airport within 40km radius of Surat. Once the bridge will be constructed in the next few years, the distance from Surat airport to Umbhrat will reduce to just 10 km.”

In 2018, Surat district administration had submitted a report to the chief secretary regarding the 2,000 hectare of government land available at the Vansi-Borsi and Mangrol villages of Jalalpore taluka in Navsari district for the development of greenfield airport.

Dinesh Navadiya, president of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) said, “The world’s largest Surat Diamond Bourse (SDA) at Dream City will be operational by 2021. Buyers from across the world will visit the SDB. The existing airport has lone Sharjah-Surat flight and other wide-bodies aircrafts can’t be operated due to building height obstructions. However, the alternate airport is the need of the hour.”

The existing airport at Surat is severely land constrained with just 300 hectares of land. Despite being the second busiest airport after Ahmedabad, Surat airport’s expansion is constrained due to the obstructions by the residential as well as commercial buildings in its air funnel zone.

Further, expansion of Surat airport is not possible as government-owned land is not fully available near the existing airport as the majority of the land is privately owned and hence the acquisition may take a long time.

Cost calculation for compensation of private land for airport expansion, existing runway extension, parallel runway and the integrated terminal building is Rs 9,000 crore. Against this cost of land acquisition at the existing site, greenfield airport at Navsari’s Jalalpore cost Rs 1,400 crore.

02/01/21 Times of India

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