VIZIANAGARAM: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to renew the approvals of site clearances for the proposed greenfield international airport at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district. In 2015, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had given site clearance for the Bhogapuram airport, which has also already received necessary clearances from the Defence Ministry.
With the delay in the execution of the project, the CM had sought renewal of the site clearance, sources said. Jagan, who met Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia after meeting the Prime Minister, sought his cooperation for early completion of the greenfield international airport.
In a memorandum submitted to the minister, he congratulated the latter for the efforts to develop civil aviation infrastructure in the country. The Chief Minister said: “Due to geographical and strategic limitations the airport in Visakhapatnam can not be expanded, hence a greenfield airport was proposed at Bhogapuram in Viziangaram.”
Emphasising the importance of this international airport to the state, particularly to the development of Visakhpatnam and the surrounding region, the Chief Minister sought the support of the ministry to complete the project within the set deadline of three years.
Meanwhile, the district officials prepared the grounds for the proposed airport as CM YS Jagan is likely to lay the foundation stone for it this month. They have been making efforts to complete the relief and rehabilitation, including land acquisition, as soon as possible. As much as 98 per cent of the land acquisition was completed and handed over to Andhra Pradesh Airport Development Corporation Limited (APADCL).
The previous TDP government, led by N Chandrababu Naidu, had proposed the construction of the International Greenfield Airport at Bhogapuram, which lies on the border of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts, in 2014. Though the government wants to acquire 15,000 acres for the construction of the airport, it was later scaled down to 5,311 acres due to stiff opposition from the locals as well as the then opposition party, the YSRC.
Subsequently, the successive government, led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, scaled down the project to 2631.63 acres (1383.39 acres of private, 825.55 acres of assigned and 422.69 acres of government lands), and signed an MoU with GMR Group for the airport construction. Though the works were supposed to begin in August 2020 and end by 2023, the work is yet to take off as few farmers are not willing to give up their land.
Therefore, the state government constituted a negotiation committee to seek out the land acquisition issues. The district administration has acquired at least 2594.48 acres of land out of the proposed 2631.63 acres with the help of the committee. Only 37.15 acres of land acquisition was pending due to a writ petition filed by the landowner.