In what is his fifth visit to poll-bound Karnataka in two months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Shivamogga airport at Sogane. The event coincided with the 80th birthday of BJP strongman from the State and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
He also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for development projects worth over ₹3,600 crore in the district. Later in the afternoon, he will take part in a nine-km roadshow and inaugurate the renovated railway station in Belagavi.
Airport to bring improved connectivity
The new airport has a lotus-shaped terminal and has been developed at a cost of around ₹450 crore. The passenger terminal building of the airport can handle 300 passengers per hour.
Built on 775 acres of land, the airport has aa 3.2 km long runway, and the passenger terminal has a built-up area of 4,320 sqft. The airport can handle aircraft ranging from the ATR 72 to the Airbus 320.
It is considered the second largest airport in the State, after Kempe Gowda International Airport in Bengaluru. The exterior design of the passenger terminal resembles lotus, symbol of the ruling BJP, which was objected to by some people earlier.
The airport is expected to improve connectivity and accessibility from Shivamogga and other neighbouring areas in the Malnad region of Karnataka, officials said.
The new airport was the dream project of four-time Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa who hails from Shivamogga district. Though he announced his retirement from electoral politics, Mr. Yediyurappa remains a key leader for the party’s poll campaign. He was the Deputy Chief Minister in the Janata Dal (S)-BJP coalition government in 2007 when an airport for Shivamogga was approved.
Earlier, a section of BJP leaders in Shivamogga had proposed that the airport be named after Mr. Yediyurappa. But the former Chief Minister himself suggested that it be named after Kuvempu, the first Kannada poet to get the Jnanpith award and who also hails from Shivamogga.
Mr. Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP president J.P. Nadda have been visiting the State frequently for the last two months, and this would be the Prime Minister’s fifth visit to Karnataka in two months, and the third in February alone. Earlier, he visited Hubballi (January 12), Kalaburagi (January 19), Bengaluru and Tumakuru (February 6), and again Bengaluru to inaugurate Aero India on February 13.
(With inputs from PTI)