Case made for airport in Karaikal under UDAN scheme

Apparent stalemate in the status of the proposed private greenfield airport in Karaikal town has prompted the travelling public in the port town to demand the facility under the UDAN scheme of the Central government.

The Puducherry government had, during 2019, appointed Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) to participae in the Karaikal Airport Development Project. Touted as India's first fully funded airport with private capital, work on the proposed greenfield project was earlier initited by Karaikal Airport Private Limited, a subsidiary of Super Airport Infrastructure Private Limited.

The greenfield project was originally expected to be completed in June 2018 by the private promoter. The planned 1,800m runway was reduced to 1,250m due to problems in land acquisition. The private promoter, according to representatives of trade and industry in Karaikal, did not get the required support from the Puducherry government.

The CIAL was later roped in and entrusted with the task of undertaking a feasibility survey of the airport development site and submit a report. According to official sources, there has been no further progress.

The Karaikal Chamber of Commerce has been persistently urging the Puducherry government to build a greenfield airport in the region. “The trade and industry sectors expect the new regime to walk the extra mile to ensure air connectivity for Karaikal,” president of Karaikal Chamber of Commerce, Muthaiah said.

The Super Airport Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd (SAIIPL), the promoter, had already obtained all necessary clearances from regulatory agencies including permission from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and no-objection certificate from the Puducherry government. A pre-feasibility study conducted by SAIIPL identified potential for air links to Chennai and Bengaluru in the form of devotees who visit shrines in and around Karaikal in large numbers all through the year. The places of worship include Saneeswarar temple at Tirunallaru, Nagore Dargah and the Basilica of Velankanni.

“The new government must evince interest in the revival of the project in right earnest. Ideally, the Puducherry government must facilitate the private promoter to complete the project. Else, the government must prevail upon the Centre to start an airport under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme,” said V.R. Dhanaseelane, president of Karaikal District Citizens Welfare Association.

The Karaikal Port project proposed in 2007 has taken shape, while the airport project proposed a year earlier is still in limbo, he added

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had proposed about 392 routes under UDAN 4.1 bidding process under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN).

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 11:59:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/case-made-for-airport-in-karaikal-under-udan-scheme/article35571659.ece

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