Friday, September 26, 2008

Stakeholders’ refusal led to mess

Stakeholders’ refusal led to mess

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: According to a highly placed official, who was part of key board meetings of BIA during 2005 and 2007, none of the partners were ready to fork out the Rs 200 crore that was needed to make the airport better, if not the best in the country.

The approximate cost of BIA to date stands at around Rs 2,200 crore including the land cost.

“When the work on BIA had commenced, there was a report that called for immediate attention —colossal air traffic growth. The study was commissioned by BIAL. Lufthanasa Consulting carried it out. The verdict was that between 2005 June and 2006 July, air traffic grew by 45 percent, the largest in the history of any city in the country. The revised traffic study showed Bengaluru's explosive air traffic growth and pegged it at 10.1 million passengers by 2010, which it has already crossed now,” sources said.

A special board meeting was called to discuss the report in mid 2006. “The stakeholders led by Mr Albert Brunner, were called to attend that meeting. During the meeting, all the four members of management belonging to Siemens, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) — Zurich Airport, Switzerland, Larsen & Toubro, and officials of the Airport Authority of India and KSIIDC were apprised of the situation.

“The time was ripe to affect any changes in the structural and design plans as the blueprint was still on the drawing board and no work had taken place,” sources said adding that it was arrived at that an additional Rs 200 crore had to be invested to meet the growing demand.

Already drained in terms of the two years taken in signing the concession agreement, the private investors were in no mood to listen. “They outright rejected the proposal stating that a lot of time and money was already wasted and that they wouldn’t give in to the new demand, despite the state argued that it has provided land free of cost and centre stated that it was pumping in 13 percent of total cost. But the private partners while refusing to pump in additional funds said that they could make good with a functional airport and at the same increase the airport’s capacity. So a compromise was made on the aesthetics and futuristic architecture to save money,” the official said. So what Bengaluru eventually ended up with is a 71,000 sqft unimpressive terminal with maximum holding capacity of 15 million passengers as claimed by BIA as against Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad, which has 1,05,300 sqft of terminal space for 12 million passengers.


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