Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) has proposed to continue imposing User Development Fee (UDF) and use the revenue for expansion of Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), which includes a 2.67-km-long four-lane tunnel at a cost of over Rs. 1,200 crore.
However, this has now drawn the ire of urban commute activists who argue that when it comes to allocating UDF, which is collected from all passengers flying out of KIA, priority should be given to mass public transport options, like metro and suburban rail, over big ticket infrastructure projects for private transport.
“The tunnel on the east end will open a third access point to KIA, but will help far fewer passengers than public transport linkages to the airport. It has been 10 years since the airport has begun operations and there seems to be no roadmap for public transport linkages,” argued Sanjeev V. Dyamannanavar, an urban commute expert who submitted his objections to the project at the stakeholder consultation meeting held by Airports Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) in June 2018.
While the State government had earlier asked BIAL to contribute funds for a metro link to the airport, the same was not mentioned in its reply to the consultation paper on UDF. A copy of the letter is available with The Hindu .
“This only means that the State government has tacitly approved of BIAL spending UDF on the tunnel,” argued Sanjeev.
Urban infrastructure expert Ashwin Mahesh also questioned the need for a tunnel. “The same end result can be achieved by an at-grade peripheral road around the airport compound at a fraction of the cost of a tunnel,” he said.
Hari Marar, President and Executive Director, BIAL, said they are planning a comprehensive plan to improve accessibility to KIA. “The UDF will be used for a tunnel, but we are ready to contribute for a metro link as well, modalities for which are yet to be worked out,” he said.