NEW DELHI: In a U-turn, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma today said the government has not cleared any proposal to set up a second airport in the national capital, less than a month after saying that Civil Aviation Ministry has approved a second airport in the national capital region.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Sharma -- Minister of State for Civil Aviation -- responded in the negative to a query on whether the government has cleared a proposal for setting up a second airport in the national capital.
To another question on whether it is a fact that the Ministry has taken a decision, in the last month of June, for development of Jewar airport in Noida, he said "no".
On June 26, Sharma had said the Ministry has cleared a proposal for a second airport in the national capital region to ease the burden on the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The proposal to develop a new airport, for which several sites are being explored including Jewar, would now be sent to the Cabinet for approval, he had said.
Sharma's remarks today comes against the backdrop of reports saying that senior Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju was not happy for not being consulted before making announcement about the second airport in the national capital region.
There have not been clarity about the matter especially after Raju refused to confirm such a move.
Reminded about Sharma's announcement that the proposal has been cleared by the Ministry and would soon be taken to the Cabinet, Raju had only said, "Please ask Mr Sharma... Anybody can give suggestion, anybody can write (to the Ministry)".
"I don't even know whether it (proposal for a new airport) should go to the Cabinet," Raju had said.
Meanwhile, Sharma today informed the Rajya Sabha that there are no plans to amend the existing rules that do not allow building of a new airport within 150 kilometres aerial distance of an existing civilian airport.
"... a greenfield airport would not be allowed within an aerial distance of 150 km of an existing civilian airport.
"However, in case there is a need to set up a greenfield airport within an aerial distance of 150 km of an existing civilian airport, such cases shall be placed before the Union Cabinet for consideration with the recommendation of the Ministry of Civil Aviation," Sharma said in a written reply.
The government has granted 'in principle' approval to 13 new airports, including four in Karnataka, three in Maharashtra and one in Uttar Pradesh.
"The construction work of the proposed airport at Kushinagar has not started as the development of the airport through public private partnership could not be realised by the government of Uttar Pradesh," Sharma said in another written reply. PTI