New Bellary airport
New Bellary airport
|Location||near Chaganur and Siriwar villages, Karnataka, India|
There are plans to build a new airport for Bellary, a city in the Indian state of Karnataka. The runway at the existing Bellary Airport is too short and narrow, and there is no room for its expansion. The new airport will be erected roughly 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) northeast of Bellary, near the villages of Chaganur and Siriwar. Proposed in 2008, the airport project met strong resistance from farmers, as the airport would be built on their fertile lands. Progress on the project slowed in 2012 but resumed in 2014, with the land acquisition issues apparently settled.
In September 2008, the Government of Karnataka approved a proposal to build a new airport for Bellary under the public–private partnership model. The airport would be built on 1,000 acres (400 ha) near the villages of Chaganur and Siriwar, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) northeast of the city. The State Government began inviting bids for assistance from the private sector in December 2008. In that same month, Airports Authority of India officials who had arrived to survey the land designated for the project were turned away by protesting farmers, who objected to the location of the airport on their fertile lands. Violent protests erupted in February 2009.
In July 2009, however, some farmers said they were willing to give their land to the State as long as proper compensation was received. One year later, the State Government had acquired roughly 900 acres (360 ha) of land for the project. Construction company MARG won the contract to build the airport, and the foundation stone was laid on 20 August 2010. MARG said it would invest ₹230 crore (US$33 million), of which ₹110 crore (US$16 million) would be spent on the initial phase. This phase would encompass the construction of a terminal building with a capacity for 100 passengers and an apron with 6–8 parking stands. The airport would be able to handle ATR aircraft.
In January 2012, the Karnataka High Court rejected the State Government's notifications to obtain 250 acres (100 ha) of land for the airport. Over 70 farmers had petitioned to the Court, claiming it was excessive to construct a third airport for Bellary; Bellary Airport and Jindal Vijaynagar Airport in Toranagallu, 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Bellary, already existed. The petitioners noted that Air Deccan had suffered low occupancy on its flights to Toranagallu and that Bellary was equidistant from two airports, the ones in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The loss of land made it impossible to lay the runway for the new airport. By June 2013, MARG had walked out on the project. Farmers who had given away their land decided to continue cultivating it as progress on the airport had halted.
The Infrastructure Development Department of the State Government revived the project in mid-2014, upon learning that MARG had expressed renewed interest in it and was willing to survey the land. The survey began in September 2014. In August 2015, the Department said that land acquisition issues had been resolved and that work on the greenfield airport would begin following the completion of Gulbarga Airport. The State then began the process of handing over 892 acres (361 ha) of land to MARG.
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