Tuesday, November 30, 2004

State Govt. relents on airport approval?

Final approval for airport soon
Times of India

New Delhi: Nearly five months after the Centre gave its go-ahead to start construction of the greenfield international airport at Bangalore, the Rs 1,300-crore project seems to be finally inching towards takeoff.

Government officials pointed out that the state government, under chief minister Dharam Singh, has finally decided to ink the much-awaited land lease agreement which will help the project’s promoters move on financial closure.

“Most of the issues have been resolved and the state government has decided to take the project to the Cabinet for final clearance shortly,” civil aviation secretary Ajay Prasad said.

The project, despite the Centre’s nod, was caught in bureaucratic hurdles at the state level with the state government deciding to review all proposals cleared by his predecessor S.M. Krishna. This included the Rs 350-crore state support and the 30-year land lease pact.

Finally, it took a letter from Infosys chief N.R. Narayana Murthy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get the Centre and PMO moving on the project. “We have since been interacting with the state government on the matter and have been assured that the project and its various agreements will soon be taken up by the (Karnataka) Cabinet,” Prasad said.

But the delay is already taking a toll on the project’s promoters, the Siemensled consortium (including Unique Zurich of Switzerland and Larsen & Toubro). With the engineering contract between L&T and Siemens expiring in September, a revalidation would mean escalation in the project cost.


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