Left Front government's stiff opposition had earlier kept private players out of Kolkata Airport modernisation project, which is being carried out by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) itself. But, with the change of guards at Writers Building, Centre is now set to revive the public-private partnership (PPP) for the city-side development of the airport on 45 acres.
“This was proposed two years back to start city-side development of the new airport. But, we could not go ahead. Now it has been decided to initiate the process. The feasibility study will be carried out IL&FS," Kolkata Airport director B P Sharma said on the sideline of a seminar organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce here.
Airport sources says, the centre did not kick off city-side development of the airport apprehending opposition from the preious state government and Left-led tradeunions.“Left Front government opposed the entry of private players in modernisation projects of airports. They were opposed to private participation in city-side developments of the airport too. In the changed political scenario it might be possible to revive the PPP model, at least for the city-side development,” an official said.
The matter was discussed by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh's during his meeting with West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last week. The state government is understood have agreed to the idea of adopting PPP model in the city-side development of the airport.
Some of the facilities planned to be made available as part of the city-side developments are hotels, restaurants, convention centres, food court, retail shops and parking.
According to Sharma, the project will attract huge investment as the airport has about 45 acres of land for city side-development.
The land will be leased through open tender for development of facilities. The amount to be spent for city side development at the airport would depend upon the bid to be submitted by the successful bidder selected through competitive bidding. The successful bider also get the mandate to manage and develop the facilities for a certain period of time.
“The new airport will offer a new terminal capable of handling 25 million passengers annually as against present annual capacity of 5 million along with all other modern facilities. Like any other big airport there is huge scope of investments in commercial developments,” Sharma added. According to officials, will carry out the feasibility study.
The new terminal at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBI) at Dum Dum here built at a cost of Rs 2,500 crore is expected to be complete by June. However, Sharma said, it will take another three months to make the new airport operational.
Unlike Delhi and Mumbai airports which were developed and mangaed by consortium led by private firms, Kolkata airport is being modernised by the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) as Left-led unions resisted private firms entering the space.