NCR airport: Raju steers clear of Sharma claim of Ministry nod

 A week after his junior minister announced that the Civil Aviation Ministry has cleared a proposal for NCR's second airport, Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday refused to confirm such a move, merely saying "both state and the Centre have to come on board".

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 03, 2015, 00:25 AM IST

New Delhi: A week after his junior minister announced that the Civil Aviation Ministry has cleared a proposal for NCR's second airport, Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday refused to confirm such a move, merely saying "both state and the Centre have to come on board".

Union Civil Aviation Minister Raju evaded a direct reply to a question on the matter even as his junior colleague Mahesh Sharma had last week announced that the Ministry had given its nod for setting up of the second airport in the national capital region.

Sharma had also hinted that the new airport could come up at Uttar Pradesh's Jewar, which comes under his parliamentary constituency of Gautam Buddha Nagar.

Responding to repeated queries on whether the Ministry has cleared the project, Raju said, "for setting up a new airport, both state and the Centre have to come on board" and evaded a direct reply.

"It takes two hands (to clap)... State governments generally make requests for having an airport in their respective state," he said.

Reminded about Sharma's announcement that the proposal has been cleared by the Ministry and would soon be taken to the Cabinet, Raju only said, "Please ask Mr Sharma... Anybody can give suggestion, anybody can write (to the Ministry)".

"I don't even know whether it (proposal for a new airport) should go to the Cabinet," Raju noted.

Sharma had made the announcement about the new airport last week after a high-level meeting that was attended by top Ministry officials, Air India CMD Rohit Nandan and AAI Chairman R K Srivastava, among others.

At that time Raju was away.

Of late, Raju and Sharma have been talking in different voices over many issues. While there is no clarity about the Ministry's stance on the new airport, the two ministers have expressed different opinion on the issue of allowing airlines' to charge for check-in baggage.

Raju has opined a decision on a proposal to charge passengers for check-in baggage should be left to aviation regulator DGCA whereas Sharma has gone ahead asking DGCA not to consider such a proposal.