VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the new transit terminal of Vijayawada Airport at Gannavaram, here Thursday and urged the Central government to rename the airport as NTR-Amaravati airport and develop it as an international airport.
In response Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had suggested the State government to table the proposal in the State Assembly and send it to the Centre and he would pursue it with the Central government and see it discussed in the Central Cabinet.
Addressing the gathering after inaugurating the transit terminal and laying foundation stone for the runway expansion at the cost of Rs 150 crore, Chandrababu urged the Central government also to consider setting up the proposed greenfield airport at Krishnapatnam in Nellore district instead of Dagadarthi of the same district as proposed earlier.
He said Krishnapatnam is more viable as it has already a fast developing seaport, is much closer to Chennai and Tirupati, near to Sri City special economic zone, and has better rail and highway connectivity. The region has potential to develop as another Shenzhen of China,” he said to buttress his argument. Principal Secretary (Investment and Infrastructure) was asked to pursue the matter with the Centre.
The Chief Minister on the occasion thanked the farmers of Gannavaram, who parted with the needed 750 acres of land for the airport runway expansion and promised to ensure that no injustice would be done to them in either compensation or rehabilitation. “Let Ministry of Civil Aviation understand this that we have given you a very valuable land for expansion, whose market value stands at Rs 2,250 crore,” he said to make a point about the State Government contribution for aviation sector development in the state
Recalling the time, when he had pulled up the contractor entrusted with construction of the new transit terminal, the Chief Minister said he is happy to see the structure completed in 12 months time. “I congratulate the contractor for the good work. I also request the Central government to take measures for beautiful landscaping of the airport and create facilities in PPP mode for better revenues,” he said.
Elaborating on the efforts made by the State government like one percent aviation turbine fuel tax, civil aviation policy among others, he wanted to have one airport each in 13 districts of the state. Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju attributed credit to Chandrababu’s efforts for the fast development in the state with regard to civil aviation. He said without land, development in civil aviation sector is not possible and in that aspect, Andhra Pradesh surpasses all other states.
He said AP stands as model state for better synergy between state and centre. Venkaiah Naidu reiterated the importance of connectivity for the development and described former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee as father of connectivity revolution.