Karnataka

Funds sought for airport expansion, Kushalnagar railway line

Budgetary support from the State government is expected for Mysuru airport runway extension.

Budgetary support from the State government is expected for Mysuru airport runway extension.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Progress of two infrastructure projects in Mysuru region hinges on allocation made by government in State Budget

All eyes are on the State Budget as the progress of two infrastructure projects in Mysuru hinges on government’s allocation of funds.

The two projects are the airport expansion and the railway line to Kushalnagar both of which have been grounded for some time now though they have received administrative nod and clearance.

The expansion of Mysuru airport depends on the purchase of land and its transfer to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) which can take up the runway extension. According to the authorities, the existing airport is spread over 490 acres and the first phase of the expansion project requires 115 acres.

This will pave way for extending the runway length from 1,740 metres to 2,400 metres so as to facilitate operation of Boeing and Airbus flights which cannot operate at present due to the short runway. This has prevented the introduction of more direct and long-distance flights from Mysuru to the rest of the country. At present only ATR type of aircraft provide short-haul flights from Mysuru to Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Belagavi and Bengaluru.

Mysuru MP Pratap Simha has sounded off Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to make allocation for land acquisition in the budget to be presented on March 5. He said the total extent of land required for airport expansion was 240 acres but provision for 115 acres of land should be made to expedite the runway extension. Mr.Simha has sought ₹200 crore from the Chief Minister to facilitate land acquisition by KIADB so that it can be transferred to AAI.

Sources in the AAI said once the land is transferred, the work on runway extension and subway construction will commence simultaneously as the Director General of Civil Aviation has already given the go-ahead for subway construction in Mysuru. Stakeholders in the tourism and industrial and business sector aver that once the airport is expanded the economy of the region could witness a drastic change as it would not only lure more investors, resulting in establishment of industrial units, but also give a boost to the tourism sector.

The other project is the railway line connecting Mysuru to Kushalnagar which not only lacks traction but also has no support from a large section of the people in Mysuru and Kodagu.

The 87-km-long new railway line also has received administrative clearance but its progress hinges on land allocation by the State government. Otherwise, the project has a negative rate of return as per the railway cost-economic analysis. Hence Mr.S imha has appealed to Mr. Yediyurappa to acquire land and transfer it to the railways besides making financial allocation in the budget for the project to get started.

However, the railway line project has evoked strong opposition on the grounds that it would be environmentally disastrous for the hilly district of Kodagu which was devastated by landslides and floods in 2018 and 2019. It could also escalate human-elephant conflict which is already high in the region and hence there is a demand for jettisoning the project.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 7:49:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/funds-sought-for-airport-expansion-kushalnagar-railway-line/article30965553.ece

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