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Bhogapuram airport project hits the runway

Visakhapatnam: The Bhogapuram International Airport project coming up in Vizianagaram district has been recommended for the grant of terms of reference by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the environment ministry during a meeting held in Delhi in the last week of March. According to senior state government officials, the bidding for the project is expected to be taken up by May or June this year.

The minutes of the EAC meeting said that in the first phase, Bhogapuram International Airport Corporation Limited (BIACL) has proposed to develop the airport at a cost of Rs 2,461.27 crore. The BIACL will require about 2,004.54 acres of land out of 3,645.79 acre required for the development of the airport in phase 1.

“Now, we will go for land acquisition and get the environmental clearance,” said a senior state government official adding that as of now, environmental impact assessment studies are being undertaken and will be completed by June. He said public hearing will be held subsequently and the environmental clearance is more likely to be obtained by June or July. “All the procedures will be carried out in a parallel manner so that the project is taken up in a fast track manner,” he added.

As per the minutes, the airport will be developed for IFR (instrument flying rules) operation of Airbus A-380 in phase-1. BIACL informed that AAI (Airports Authority of India) after studying four alternate locations in 2007 has shortlisted two sites first near S Rayavaram and second near Bhogapuram (50 kms) from Vishakhapatnam) for development of the international airport near Bhogapuram keeping in view factors such as minimising land acquisition cost as far a possible, utilising maximum government land and reduce resettlement cost.

While the runway length will be around 3,800 metres, BIACL said all facilities for safe operation of the aircraft such as construction of new runway, terminal building spread over 81,000 square metres, air traffic controller tower, runway and safety area, isolation bay shoulders and firefighting equipment are part of the project.

BIACL has submitted to the committee that there are no ecologically sensitive areas or national park within 10 km distance of the proposed airport and no forest land involved. The power requirement for the project is expected to be around 20,000 kVA and the bulk power supply of 1250 kVA shall be drawn from the grid of the state electric board.

The source of water for the proposed area will be from nearby municipality. The daily consumption of water during operation phase will be about 273.8 kilo litres per day (KLD) of which 152.1 KLD will be fresh water and 137.4 KLD will be recycled water, as per the minutes of the meeting.

The committee has recommended that TOR along with public hearing should be considered for preparation of the environmental impact assessment report for the project. It has also sought details such as importance and benefits of the project, status of relief and rehabilitation of the project, cost of project and time of completion and also to conduct public hearing and include issues raised and commitments made by BIACL in the environmental impact assessment report.

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