Monday, October 19, 2009

GOVT RAP FOR BIA

GOVT RAP FOR BIA
Letter to BIAL points to over-commercialisation of terminal space, and inadequate washroom and refreshment facilities
NIRANJAN KAGGERE


Bangalore International Airport, now bracing for a makeover, including a second runway and terminal, faces the state government’s censure over issues like overutilisation of space in the terminal building for commercial purposes and lack of clarity in expenditure details.
A letter to this effect was sent recently to Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler by principal secretary (infrastructure development) V Madhu, copies of which have been obtained by Bangalore Mirror through the Right To Information (RTI) Act. The move comes in the backdrop of the observations of the joint legislature committee which is examining the project — the airport became operational on May 23 last year.
The committee, in fact, had made its observations known to BIAL several times on the way in which the space in the terminal building for passengers was largely commercialised as well as on the inadequate facilities in the lounge space. These apart, the committee had commented on the shortage of washrooms, non-availability of affordable refreshments for the support staff and non-availability of free toilet facilities for the workers and visitors. The committee had sought to know the steps BIAL would take to remodel the airport.
In his letter to BIAL, Madhu has said: “We have not received an adequate response from you. You have recently sent a letter proposing the future plan without any details about the facilities and the areas to be provided... Still, there is no response on the issue of remodelling the airport to reflect the local flora.” The letter adds: “It is unfortunate that you have not yet brought to the notice of the (BIA) board the serious concerns raised by the committee.”
OBSCURE FIGURES
It is not just the plan but also the expenditure statement submitted by BIAL to the government that is said to lack clarity.
According to Madhu’s letter, BIAL in its statement of December 2008 had said that the final cost, including the immediate project extension (IPE), is Rs 2,470.29 crore for handling 11.4 million passengers. However, the letter pointed out, the final Phase-1 expenditure agreed to by both the state and Central government is Rs 1,930.28 crore and the figures in the statement lead to lack of clarity.
Further, the letter has asked BIAL to give the details of expenditure for Phase-1 in case of any change in the actual expenditure, as per the State Support Agreement. Quoting the committee, Madhu has asked BIAL to furnish information about the cash flow relating to the project.

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