The Uttarakhand government is seeking a special plan assistance (SPA) of Rs 25 crore from the Centre for the expansion and modernisation of Naini-Saini airport in the hilly Pithoragarh district, mainly for tourism promotion.
RITES was last year appointed as the consultant for the expansion and modernisation work of the airport. RITES has prepared a fresh DPR of the airport project, which will be expanded for the landing of ATR 42 aircraft.
The DPR has already been given financial clearance. “We have set a deadline for the completion of this airport in 24 months time,” a top government official said.
The government has already released a sum of Rs 3 crore for the development works, the official added.
Last year, the government canceled its agreement with Stup, a company which had earlier been appointed as consultant. The government-owned Uttarakhand State Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (USIDCL) which is the nodal agency for the development of the airport, had appointed Mumbai-based Stup as the consultant and agreed to pay Rs 3.51 crore as the consultancy fees as being demanded by the firm.
But Stup backed out after the government tried to renegotiate on the consultancy fees. After the consultant backed out, the government cancelled the agreement also. RITES will charge a consultancy fee of Rs 1.46 crore. An investment of Rs 48 core is proposed for expanding and strengthening the runway, upgrading other related operational infrastructure and terminal facilities at the Naini Saini airport, which had not been operational for years now. The official said the airport might experience a cost overrun due to the high inflation in the country.