MADURAI: International connectivity to Madurai will soon become a reality, said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram as he inaugurated the new Integrated Terminal Building here on Sunday.
Members belonging to the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Virudhunagar MP Manik Tagore will be meeting the top honchos of various international airlines on September 17 in Chennai to upgrade this airport to international standards, he said.
He also suggested the Aviation Ministry to provide connectivity to Madurai from all important cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, as civil connectivity was as important as international connectivity. The country was developing fast under the UPA regime with a constant growth rate of 9 per cent and the civil aviation should grow at the same pace as air travel is no more a luxury but a necessity, he said.
When the UPA assumed charge, the need to develop infrastructure to cope with development was felt strongly and huge investments were made in the sector which was greater than that made last 50 years.
Large scale investments were made in road, shipping and air travel sector. With the growth rate increasing consistently, the country will witness massive development in coming years, he said. Geographically, Madurai should have been the capital city of the State. However, Madurai can be developed as the second capital for which air travel should contribute to a great extent. “We should work towards inviting large investments to the city”, he stated.
Praful Patel, Union Civil Aviation Minister, in his address, said that the AAI was modernising Madurai, Tiruchy and Coimbatore airports on par with international standards and after the massive modernisation at Chennai airport, at a cost of ` 2,000 crore, Chennai will compete with other airports at New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad, he said.
There is a public demand to fly international flights to benefit people flying to international destinations, especially to Singapore, Dubai and Malaysia. He also assured that international flights from Madurai will become a reality soon. “Besides, we will develop air cargo facilities as it will greatly benefit agriculture and industrial sectors”, he said.
The development of the airport will be streamlined to meet both passenger and cargo transport. The airport can be expanded to meet the future development of the city, he added.
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M K Alagiri, urged the Union ministers present to help the city get international connectivity.
Virudhunagar MP Manik remembered the work of chamber of commerce and the part played by late MP Mohan and Chithan in this regard.