GoM on Greater Noida airport to meet on June 16

A long-pending proposal of the Uttar Pradesh government to set up a greenfield international airport at Greater Noida will come up for discussion before a Group of Ministers on Wednesday.

Updated: Jun 13, 2010, 11:56 AM IST

Berlin: A long-pending proposal of the Uttar Pradesh government to set up a greenfield international airport at Greater Noida will come up for discussion before a
Group of Ministers on Wednesday.

"The GoM on Greater Noida airport will meet on June 16," Patel, who was here to attend the International Air Transport Association Summit, told a news agency.

The UP government wants the airport, proposed to be named as the Taj International Aviation Hub, to come up at Jhevar near Greater Noida which is about 60 kms from Delhi and 120 kms from Agra.

Chief Minister Mayawati`s government has identified 1,500 hectares for the project which is estimated to cost about Rs 5,000 crore and submitted a techno-economic
feasibility report to the Centre.

The GoM on Jhevar airport is headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram and has Law Minister Veerappa Moily, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel as its members.

The matter had been discussed by an earlier GoM set up by the UPA-I regime which could not reach a conclusion.

A major reason for this was the objection raised on the issue by the GMR-led consortium, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) that operates the Delhi airport.

It had cited its Operations Management and Development Agreement with the Airports Authority of India, quoting existing rules to say that no airport can be built within 150
km of the IGI airport at Delhi.

However, the Union Cabinet`s clearance to a second airport in Goa at Mopa three days ago could pave the way for a similar clearance for the Greater Noida airport.

The proposed Mopa airport is about 70 kms from the existing Dabolim Airport in Goa. Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and Kannur in Kerala fall within a 150 km radius of existing airports at Mumbai and Kozhikode.

However, the concession agreement also provides for a clause on the `Right of First Refusal` (RoFR) to the GMR-led consortium which enables it to be the preferred bidder for a new airport in the vicinity of the existing one.

Airport consultants have wondered why this clause was
included in the concession agreement if there was no legal
provision for a second airport to come up within a 150 km
radius unless the first one gets saturated.

The legal issues have been examined by Attorney
General Milon Banerjee, including on the RoFR clause, and a
report submitted to the government.

Sources said that the 150 km-rule was a major reason
why the proposal for the Jhevar airport was held up so far and
added that there was no other major stumbling block.

"Across the world there are many airports within a 150
km radius of each other," they said giving examples of major
cities like London, Paris and New York which have more than
one airport within this range.

PTI