The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has decided to go ahead with the land pooling process for the green-field international airport proposed at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district amid growing resistance to the government’s move.
The government had zeroed in on this alternative location, which is around 40 km from the port city of Visakhapatnam, in place of a place near Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam district originally chosen for setting up the green-field airport by the previous Congress government led by YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has learnt to have asked his ministerial colleagues hailing from the north coastal Andhra districts to convince the land owners to quickly complete the land pooling as the project can not afford to be delayed.
The state government has originally decided to pool up about 15,000 acre for the project, while the move was met with opposition from the locals who questioned as to why so much land was required for an airport project.
According to the government sources, the chief minister was willing to reduce the land requirement for the project to avoid confrontation with the locals.
Sources say that a part of land was already bought by real estate investors from the local farmers after the airport project was announced by the government and they are unwilling to surrender the same to the government under the proposed land pooling.
The state government has already issued a draft aviation policy proposing to develop the international airport along with five smaller airports under the public private participation(PPP) model. The government has offered to provide various financial incentives including a viability gap funding to these projects in a move to attract private investments into these airport infrastructure.