Berhampur, Rourkela and Keonjhar to get new low-cost airports

New Delhi: At a time when authorities of Biju Patnaik airport here are pulling out all the stops to get international tag, the Centre’s decision on Friday to set up 51 new low-cost airports in the country including Berhampur, Rourkela and Keonjhar in Odisha has boosted them to expedite the pending activities required for the recognition.

The state-owned airport operator, Airports Authority of India (AAI), would set up the airports in Tier-II and Tier-II cities in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Apart from the low-cost airports, the government has decided to grant new international airport status to Bhubaneswar and northeastern state Imphal at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore.

Also, construction of eight greenfield airports this year would be awarded under public-private-participation (PPP) mode for Navi Mumbai, Juhu in Mumbai, Goa, Kannur, Rajguru Nagar Chakan at Pune, Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh, a statement from Prime Minister's Office said.

Also, the government was mulling operation and maintenance of airports at Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad through PPP contracts.

In a bid to ramp up investor sentiment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday set an investment target of Rs 1.15 lakh crore in PPP (public private partnership) projects across infrastructure sectors in civil aviation, rail, port and power in the next six months.

The decisions were taken at a meeting Prime Minister held here to finalise infrastructure projects for 2013-14 which was attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Ministers of Power, Coal, Railways, Roads, Shipping and Civil Aviation.

The low-cost airports would come up at Vijayawada, Nellore, Kurnool, Kadapa, Nizamabad, Tirupati, Anantapur and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, at Muzaffarpur, Chapra and Sasaram in Bihar, at Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Firozpur in Punjab, at Agra, Allahabad, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.

Tezu, Bomdila and Along in Arunachal Pradesh, at Silchar, Jorhat and Tezpur in Assam, at Gwalior, Singrauli, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Jabalpur, Sidhi and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh, Berhampur, Rourkela and Keonjhar in Odisha, at Ajmer, Kota, Bhilwada and Alwar in Rajasthan and at Kolhapur, Nasik, Jalgaon, Solapur and Amarawati in Maharashtra are also expected to have low-cost airports.