Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Department, Vandita Sharma has said the State government is committed to providing air connectivity to tier II cities, including Gulbarga, by completing the work on the airport at the earliest.

Ms. Sharma, who visited the site of the Gulbarga airport on Wednesday, told presspersons that the work was in the advance stages of completion and it would be wrong to give up the proposal to establish the airport at this stage.

She said that she did not want to discuss the reasons for the delay and about the ongoing dispute between the two main joint venture partners which are implementing the project. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the State government and the Regional Airport-Holdings International Ltd. (RAHI) for the construction of the Gulbarga and Shimoga airports was still valid. A final decision on the MoU with RAHI would be taken in consultation with the Law Department.

Ms. Sharma said that a high-level meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary was held to discuss the pending airport projects in tier II cities and there was no proposal to give up the construction. “There is a solution to all the problems and the government will find a way out.” Ms. Sharma, who is also the managing director of the Karnataka State Finance Corporation, said that a proposal suggested by the KSFC to the Women and Child Development Department to subsidise loans availed of by women entrepreneurs had received approval. It was now pending before the government.

She said that the KSFC had fixed the loan disbursal target at Rs. 1,100 crore. A total of Rs. 700 crore had already been disbursed and the remaining amount would be disbursed before the end of the current financial year. Last year, the KSFC had disbursed Rs. 900 crore as loans.

On the non-performing assets (NPA) of the KSFC, Ms. Sharma said the situation was improving and of the KSFC was coming down to appreciable levels. The KSFC had initiated several measures to bring down the NPA of the KSFC, including a one-time settlement concession on interest for entrepreneurs to clear their loans.