NELLORE: The Airports Authority of India (AAI), a wing of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is going to take up works of the greenfield airport at Dagadarthi in Nellore district. The State government will soon handover the lands to AAI for the construction of the project. It may be recalled that the previous government led by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had inked an MoU with SCL Turbo, a consortium of Nellore International Airport Private Limited for developing the Greenfield Airport and a cargo hub at Dagadarthi on February 10 this year.
The Nellore International Airport Private Limited had also planned a cargo hub expecting huge demand from local industries, Krishnapatnam Port and also from nearby cities like Chennai, Tirupati, Sri City and others. Krishnapatnam Port, Kisan SEZ, Sri City, Mambattu SEZ and companies which export/import aqua products would benefit from cargo services of the airport. As Chennai Airport has been handling cargo services all this while, there are chances for diversion of business to the Nellore airport. Further, it was proposed that the airport would be a low-cost and no-frills airport in public-private partnership (PPP) model and it would be developed in 1,352 acres of land at a cost of Rs 368 crores. The then government had paid around Rs 20 crore as compensation to farmers, who gave away their lands, but later dropped the proposal in May last year.
Meanwhile, SCL Turbo headed by Vankayalapati Umesh once again came forward to construct the airport and signed an MoU with the then State government. After coming to power, the newly formed YSRC government reviewed the progress of the airport and decided to speed up the works after handing it over to the AAI at Dagadarthi. “The AAI has expressed its interest to take up works and the government will hand over lands to the AAI soon. We will complete the project at the earliest,” said Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy. He pointed out that the State government was also considering changing promoters for other airports in the State, who have been delaying the process.