Work on Shimoga airport project yet to commence

The work related to Shimoga airport, though commenced with a bang in 2007, has remained suspended for the past two years owing to differences between the partners of the Regional Airport Holdings Ltd. (RAHI), a joint venture company that had bagged the contract, and the delay in clearing the obstacles that have come in the way of ensuring the safe operation of flights.

The land acquired for the project has now become a place to wash clothes and graze the cattle for the residents of Haregatte, Vinayaka Nagar and surrounding villages in the vicinity. Although more than Rs. 15 crore has been spent on the works like levelling the ground and construction of the runway there, the entire area is covered with thick vegetation. K.T. Gangadhar, leader of Raitha Sangha, has said that as the airport-related work has come to a halt, the farmers who had parted with their land for the project would re-commence cultivation there.

When B.S. Yeddyurappa was Chief Minister, the State government had initiated the work on the airport project to upgrade connectivity here and thereby attract industrial investment into the region. Mr. Yeddyurappa had laid the foundation stone for the project in June 2008.

The State government had acquired 662 acres of land for the project and had handed it over to the RAHI. The project was estimated to cost Rs. 194 crore. It was planned to construct a 3.1-km runway, a terminal building and the essential infrastructure to handle the cargo and passengers. According to the terms of the contract, the work related to the project was to be completed within two years. In the first phase, out of the proposed 3.1-km runway, the work of levelling a 0.5-km stretch with boulders and concrete mixture, was completed. After this, differences cropped up between the partners of the contractor, which resulted in the stoppage of the work.

Compound wall

The work on the construction of a compound wall at the project site and providing drinking water connection has remained incomplete. The work of constructing an approach road to the project site from N.R. Pura-Shimoga main road and the construction of terminal building has not yet started.

A team of experts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which conducted a survey of the project site in April 2013, had recommended to reduce the height of chimneys of six factories in the industrial estate located adjacent to the project site and to shift a 220-kV electricity line that passes through the project site to ensure safe operation of flights. Since then, there is no progress in the work. The hopes of completing the project were, however, revived after Minister of State for Civil Aviation G.M. Siddeshwara visited the city recently. During his visit, Mr. Siddeshwara had said that the AAI was ready to take over the project and complete it. The work would commence as soon as the State government terminated the agreement it had entered into with the joint venture company and hand over the project to the AAI officially, he had said.

Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar, who is also district in-charge Minister, had said that he would urge the Chief Minister to take a decision in this regard.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 11:28:10 PM |

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