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Delegation of BSP MPs meets PM

On the directives of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati, a delegation of BSP M.P.s, met the Prime Minist er Dr. Manmohan Singh at Sansad Bhawan New Delhi today and requested him to take personal interest for setting up of Taj International Airport (T.I.A.) being established by UP Government at Jewar in Greater Noida and sanction it at the earliest. The MPs said the Government of India (GOI) should promptly approve the TIA near Greater Noida to enable rapid development of infrastructure facilities and creation of better avenues for direct and indirect employment in the State.

Ms. Mayawati had discussed state’s development at a meeting with all the MPs held at her official residence on July 20, in which she had directed all the MPs to meet the PM and other Union Ministers, so that projects pending at the Centre for approval could be cleared at the earliest. They had done the same thing during the previous session as well. She said that even though these projects had not been cleared so far despite that meeting. Yet, the MPs should meet the Prime Minister and request him to give Centre’s approval for TIA, allocation of six coal blocks and sanctioning of Rs. 80,000 crore special economic package for the rapid development of the State.

The delegation apprised the PM that TIA’s approval from GOI had been pending about last 07 years. The technical approval had been accorded by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, GOI on 09 April 2009 to establish an International Airport near Jewar at a distance of 72 kms. from IGI Airport.

The delegation further apprised the PM that only one condition was imposed while taking approval of Central Government’s Cabinet that in case of establishing another International Airport within radius of 150 kms., ‘Right of First Refusal’ (ROFR) and 10 per cent Price Preference shall have to be given to Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), the promoter of IGI Airport. Same provision was also made by the GOI, while entering into the State Support Agreement (SSA) with DIAL.

Government of UP has already consented on this condition in May 2007. While according sanction on TIA by the Central Cabinet, Government of UP was also asked to participate in the SPV to be made for the development of TIA. The State Government made it clear that Yamuna Expressway Authority shall be the nodal agency for TIA project and will also represent the State Government and participate in the said SPV. The delegation apprised PM that the Government of UP has
already complied in the year 2007 with the conditions imposed by the GOI for sanctioning of International Airport. Therefore, sanction for Taj International Airport be accorded by GOI without any delay. The delegation pointed out that the Air traffic of Delhi Airport can no longer be handled by IGI Airport only, so it had become imperative that another International Airport at Jewar near Greater Noida be sanctioned immediately for Delhi. Only after sanction of the TIA, the air traffic congestion of Delhi can be reduced by the 2015-16. The delegation apprised PM that during the last three years growth of air traffic has been far more than it was estimated, and any person using IGI Airport had to face the traffic congestion of Delhi Airport. A study report of traffic projection was sent to GOI by Government of UP in the year 2007, according to which air traffic of IGI Airport was estimated to be more than 100 million by the year 2016. Same is the traffic projection of Airport Authority of India. Expert study says that on development of Taj International Airport, the air traffic of NCR shall be 161 million by the year 2021, in which the share of Delhi Airport will be 136 million, which was far more than the designed capacity of 100 million fixed for DIAL. Air traffic of TIA is projected to be 25 million by the year 2021.

The PM was apprised by the delegation that it was unnecessary to talk about trigger point or traffic-study for establishing TIA. There was no such mention of any trigger point or traffic-study while giving initial technical clearance to the Government of UP in 2003. Attorney General of GOI has specifically opined that DIAL’s bid condition/agreement does not create any legal impediment in sanctioning of International airport at Greater NOIDA. ‘Post-Bid-Benefit’ should not be passed on to DIAL. Otherwise also, a big post-bid-benefit has already been given to DIAL, in terms of ‘Airport Development Tax’. Now, even raising the issue of ‘Trigger’ is the same as passing on post-bid-benefit to DIAL. The delegation apprised PM that the delay in sanction of TIA is, on one hand, unnecessary delaying mitigation of traffic congestion and, on the other hand, overlooking the interest of UP by impeding the efforts of the State Government to rapidly develop the infrastructure facilities.

The delegation apprised PM that all the major cities in the world such as New York, Washington, London, etc. had more than one airport. These cities had concept of satellite airport to avoid traffic congestion. TIA would be a second such airport for NCR. This airport would be important for cargo in view of its location within the proposed Delhi Mumbai Industrial Investment Corridor and Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor. This would provide multi modal connectivity facility which would not only contribute to the all-round development of the State but also of the country. The delegation apprised PM that upon the repeated request of GOI, the project consultants appointed by the State Government were asked to prepare a supplementary TEFR in association with DIAL. Here it is to be pointed out that DIAL being an interested party, its association in the activity would involve a conflict of interest. The Government of UP provided the supplementary TEFR to GOI vide letter dated 16 June 2010. According to the report, the revised traffic assessment makes only marginal changes in the immediate future where the projected traffic would be lower than that presented in the earlier report submitted in January 2008. The traffic scenario in the long term perspective does not show any appreciable change.

The delegation apprised PM that to quote the figures, the passenger traffic at Delhi with TIA in the year 2021 would be 155 million, in which the fraction of DIAL’s traffic would be 127 million which would be again much more than the designed maximum capacity of 100 million. In the year 2016 and 2021, the TIA traffic is projected to be 11 million and 28 million respectively. Thus, both airports were expected to grow on the basis of their own markets. The Taj Airport traffic would increase essentially due to additional traffic on account of transit traffic, higher economic development in its vicinity and major activities in the catchment area. Therefore, there would be enough traffic for Taj International Airport from 2016 and there would be no adverse effect on
the traffic of IGI International Airport.

The delegation apprised PM that it was worth mentioning that GOI has accorded approvals within a radius of 150 kms. of existing airports namely Mopa airport which is 65 kms. away from Goa Airport; Kannur Airport which is 80 kms. away from Callicut Airport and125 kms. from Mangalore Airport and a Cargo Airport (Virat Nagar) which is 63 Kms. away from Jaipur Airport. In addition to this, Navi-Mumbai Airport, which is 35 kms. away from Mumbai Airport has also been accorded approval. The case of Mumbai Airport and Navi-Mumbai Airport and Delhi Airport and International Airport at Jewar is exactly similar wherein both the existing airports have been given on lease to private companies. The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh heard the delegation seriously and said that the Group of Ministers (GoM) had been studying the matter and assured the delegation that their points would be considered seriously. Besides, he also assured that the demand of Rs. 80,000 crore special economic package and allocation of coal linkage blocks would also be considered seriously.

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