The Centre has given green clearance for a greenfield airport project at Hirasar, about 28 km from Rajkot in Gujarat, at a cost of over Rs 1,400 crore.
The state government has proposed a new airport in Rajkot district as the existing one is small and the earlier plan to extend the current runway could not materialise because of high land cost.
"The Environment Ministry has given the environment clearance to the Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GSAICL) for development of a greenfield airport at Rajkot," a senior government official said.
The green clearance given to the project, after taking into account the ministry's expert panel, is subject to certain riders, the official said.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,405 crore. It would be a single runway airport for operating 'C' category aircraft. The proposed project will be built in an area of 1,025.54 hectare, of which 96.48 per cent is government land.
According to the GSAICL, the proposed project will aid development of trade and tourism besides improving regional connectivity in Gujarat.
More than 1000 persons will be employed directly and indirectly for different activities of the airport. As many as 2,180 trees will be cut in the proposed airport site. About 632.24 hectare forest land will also be diverted for the same.
All airports in Gujarat have a moderate air-traffic growth of 5-8 per cent with exceptions of Ahmedabad and Vadodara where traffic growth is between 8-10 per cent, as per the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The holistic development of Hirasar airport will not only serve the demand generated by the Rajkot city but also cater to the demand in the neighbouring states. Over a due course of time, the proposed airport will also meet the spillover needs to Ahmedabad, it said in the report submitted by GSAICL to the central government along with the proposal.