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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given a booster shot to the proposed Jewar International Airport project, estimated to cost Rs 20,000 crore. The project has been pending for the past 15 years over regulatory and other hurdles. Now, the UP government has appointed Yamuna Expressway as the nodal agency of the project and directed officials to expedite the land acquisition process for early launch of the ground work. He has also asked for selecting the consultant soon to prepare the detailed project report (DPR). Recently, the Centre had given in-principle approval to the proposed airport in Greater Noida, which is touted to serve the national capital region (NCR) and decongest the existing New Delhi airport once operational. The project was first proposed way back in 2001. During the Mayawati regime (2007-12), it was estimated at almost Rs 3,500 crore and entail acquisition of over 1,500 hectares of land. Now the fresh estimates peg the mega project at Rs 20,000 crore. It was conceived as an aviation hub and offering cargo and transit facilities for international connecting flights.
Besides, the periphery was supposed to be developed as upmarket commercial, residential, shopping and recreational hubs.At the same time, the Adityanath government is working towards upgrading 10 existing air strips, of which eight are under the state government control, while the remaining two — Jhansi and Saharanpur — come under the jurisdiction of the defence ministry. At most places — Agra, Kanpur Chakeri, Bareilly, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Meerut, Faizabad, Moradabad, Aligarh and Chitrakoot — the required land for expansion of the airstrips had already been provided. Chairing a review meeting here last evening, Adityanath underlined that the new UP Civil Aviation Promotion Policy would spur investment, boost trade and tourism sector in a big way. The policy aims at providing air connectivity between Lucknow and other state capitals, apart from divisional headquarters. He also requested the Centre for speedier completion of the airports projects in the state. Adityanath observed that his government was working for the balanced development of all regions and according equal impetus to both aviation and surface transport sector in the state. Earlier, the Centre had rolled out Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to provide air connectivity to smaller towns. Under RCS, five air routes have been approved for UP and bids had already been received for Agra, Kanpur and Allahabad. To minimise travel time, the government has succeeded in linking Lucknow to Dehradun, Bhopal, Patna and Jaipur. Similarly, direct flights between Varanasi and Jaipur had been started, while the air service between Agra and Jaipur is proposed from December 15, 2017. The weekly Varanasi-Sharjah flight has been made daily, while the air service has been started between Varanasi and Colombo. Another flight has been added on Varanasi-Delhi sector.