Saturday, August 28, 2021

Land not an issue for expansion of airports in Bihar: Minister

Patna: Two days after Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia sought intervention of CM Nitish Kumar for expansion of airports in the state listed under the Centre’s RCS-UDAN scheme, state information and public relations minister Sanjay Kumar Jha on Friday said state government has provided land sought by the civil aviation ministry for various airports, including Bihta, Darbhanga and Purnia. He said it is now the responsibility of civil aviation ministry and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to start the development works.

“State government has provided 108 acres of land to civil aviation ministry at Bihta for construction of a modern civil enclave and other utilities for commencing commercial flight operations from the airbase. The land was acquired after the state cabinet passed a proposal in this regard. Now, the work has to be carried out by civil aviation ministry and AAI,” Jha told TOI.

The state cabinet headed by CM Nitish had on November, 2016, sanctioned Rs 260.74 crore for acquisition of 120 acres of land at Bihta airbase. Of the 120 acres of land, 108 acres is proposed to be utilised for development of civil enclave and the remaining 18 acres would be used by state government for development of amenities, including a VIP lounge, a hotel and a hangar.

As per initial plans, AAI had planned to commence the construction of first block of the proposed civil enclave at Bihta airbase in 2019 with an expenditure of Rs 500 crore. However, no work has started yet.

With regard to additional land sought for installation of new equipment at Patna airport, Sanjay Kumar, additional chief secretary of state cabinet secretariat department, said 16.5 acres of land has already been handed over to AAI and process is underway for transferring another 22 acres of land.

28/08/21 Piyush Pripathi/Times of India

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