Staff Reporter

Finish the job by year-end, says Airports Authority GM

  • 80 per cent of runway work completed
  • AAI will spend Rs.95 crores for terminal building
  • No further scope for expansion after 15 years

    VISAKHAPATNAM: Construction work at the Visakahaptnam airport picked up speed on Monday after the flood waters receded. According to H.S. Suresh, general manager (engineering-project) of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), 80 per cent of the runway work was completed and if there is no further stoppage due to natural calamities , it should be completed by December this year.

    Expenses shared

    He said the work for the proposed terminal building has commenced and is likely to be completed by the middle of next year. The expansion of the airport is a joint venture between the Ministry of Defence (MOD), State Government and the AAI. The runway expansion is being shared between the three parties with MOD contributing Rs.140 crores and the remaining Rs.50 crores shared evenly by the other two parties. The AAI would be spending around Rs.95 crores for the terminal building.

    Based on the area's flood history, the AAI raised the runway by four feet from ground level and the terminal building by seven feet. After the recent flooding, the AAI will undertake the construction of a one-kilometre retaining wall from the approach point in the highway to the terminal to check the floodwater, at a cost of about Rs.2 crores.

    Eye-opener

    The frequent inundation of the airport due to rains and the flow of surplus water from the Meghadrigedda reservoir is not only an eye-opener but also raises doubts whether it is `just' to invest over Rs.200 crores on the project.

    Moreover, according to Mr. Suresh the life of any expansion project is around 10 to 15 years. After 15 years this airport can have no further expansion, as the there is no further scope for extending the runway.