Delay in fund allocation slows pace

Even as the process for acquisition of land for upgrading the Coimbatore Airport into an international airport is progressing, the land acquisition process seems to await allocation of funds for disbursement of compensation to the land owners.

Airport Authority of India (AAI) embarked on upgrading the Coimbatore Airport into an international airport as the present airport with 9,900 ft runway is situated on 444 acres land.

The original plan was to acquire 840-odd acres and following public opposition to acquisition, administration reduced the extent of acquisition by 170 acres.

Then, the plan was to acquire 630 acres.

Departments

Of that, nearly 100 acres are with Defence and various other Government departments not involving the civilian population.

The total extent of land to be acquired from the public now stands at 530 acres.

The continuous process of revisiting the acquisition plans enabled exclusion of 65 acres and nearly 400 houses.

What could not be excluded was the 950 m of land measuring eight to ten acres, as the Airport Authority wanted the 950 m for the flight pathway approach threshold.

Under the original plan, there were threat to 814 buildings, two industrial and two school buildings.

Now, under the revised plan, 397 buildings including one industrial and two school buildings have been spared and only 417 would be demolished.

The acquisition spans over Irugur, Uppilipalayam, Singanallur and Kalapatti.

With the plans finalised, the land acquisition process is nearing completion with 3 (2) notification under the Land Acquisition for Industrial Purposes Act and the process is nearing 3 (1) and 3 (d) notification stage.

Once the process reaches that stage, the administration would have to pay the compensation.

Letters

Revenue Department sources said that letters have been sent to the State Government drawing its attention for allocation of funds to commence the acquisition and disbursement of compensation.

District revenue authorities are on the job of drawing the attention of the Government for ensuring that the financial allocation was made on time, so that the acquisition process never suffered any delay for want of funds.

Talking to The Hindu, here recently, Airport Director K. Peter Abraham said that the AAI was ready with funds for the construction of an integrated Airport Terminal Building spanning over 5 lakh square feet.

Once the facilities are upgraded to international standards, international connectivity would become possible with airlines evincing interest to operate from Coimbatore.

The total outlay for the same would be Rs 500 to 600 crore. This would also include expansion of the runway from 9,900 ft to 12,500 ft. Such an expansion was essential for Coimbatore which has immense potential and the airport expansion would benefit the city and its peripheral areas to a considerable extent.

At present the airport has 40 aircraft movements a day, passenger movement is 1.2 lakh per month and the Coimbatore Airport revenue has also grown at 15 to 16 per cent.

There are proposals from airlines for introducing flights on some existing sectors besides services to places such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Tirupati.