Farmers of Buddhavaram are demanding land for land

The runway expansion works at Gannavaram Airport near here are likely to gain momentum with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy agreeing to release funds for the land acquisition.

The Government will release about Rs.50 crore to acquire the land for expansion of the existing 7,500 feet runway and construction of Air Traffic Control (ATC) building etc. The district administration is gearing up to acquire 433 acres of private land in three villages whereas the total requirement is close to 500 acres.

The remaining land belongs to the Government. The farmers of Buddhavaram and other villages near Gannavaram are, however, on the agitation path in protest against the airport expansion. They have been demanding land for land. The Government is yet to address their demand. The district administration has been verifying the records of lands that are to be acquired. When contacted, Airports Authority of India (AAI) airport director C. Pattabhi said that the expansion of the runway to 10,500 ft, construction of the terminal buildings, technical buildings, ATC building, hangers, fire station and place for oil companies were some of the proposals that are part of airport expansion.

The Authority was ready to take up the expansion works. The estimates for expansion works would be prepared as soon as the land was acquired, he said.

The extension of the runway will enable larger aircraft to land and take off giving scope for international flights directly originate from here. The airport expansion has been hanging fire for the last four years as the State Government had failed to acquire the required land. The expansion and modernisation of the airport hit roadblock with the Government expressing its inability to acquire the land in 2009.

Besides, the Government had asked the AAI to have a second look at its projections for the land requirement. The airport is currently spread over 350 acre of land with an old terminal building.

The State Government entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for expansion and development of the airport. As per the MoU signed in February 2007, a modern passenger terminal building and hangars were to be built by 2009.

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