The greenfield project for an international airport near Dholera — 129 km from Ahmedabad — has been downsized by 50% to suit the new Draft Development Plan for the airport. The reduction in size of the airport comes almost eight years after it was first proposed. Though it is among the most ambitious projects of the Modi government, work on it is yet to begin.
A new international airport at Dholera was first proposed in 2006-07 but it has not yet got all the necessary clearances. A week back, it got a key clearance certificate from the ministry of defence on the basis of which state government hopes to acquire other approvals for the project.
Asenior government official associated with the project said on the condition of anonymity that, initially, the project was planned on 2,800 hectares. “But now the project area has been halved to around 1400 hectares. Earlier, the plan was to have four runaways but now the airport will have only two. ,” the officer said.
The government official confirmed that the ministry of defence had given the project its crucial clearance. “On that basis of that, we will get clearance from the Union ministry of civil aviation. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is in the final stages of submitting a revised draft development plan. On the basis of this plan the state government will conduct an environment impact assessment (EIA) and also apply for site clearance from the Union ministry of environment & forests. We hope to get clearance in the next few months,” the official said.
According to sources, the project will be implemented through public-private partnership (PPP). “Hence, we are simultaneously preparing to invite expressions of interest (EOI) from private investors. We hope to get a good response,’’ a source said.
The capacity of the international airport at Ahmedabad, which has registered the highest annual growth in traffic, is expected get saturated much before the year 2020.