PUDUCHERRY: The Puducherry government is planning to shift the airport at Lawspet to a rural area of Karasur-Sederapet by utilizing the land acquired for Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
While speaking in the budget discussion in the Assembly on Wednesday, PML Kalyanasundaram (AINRC) made this reference based on a reply provided by the government to his question raised during question hour in the Assembly.
It may be recalled that over 750 acres of land had been acquired from farmers for establishing a SEZ at Karasur-Sederapet in 2006-2007. The government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private party (SPML) for developing the area and handed over the land for the purpose. However the SEZ project went into cold storage following objections raised by the Union Home Ministry, citing lack of contiguity.
In the written reply to the MLA, the government stated that it was waiting for handing over of the SEZ area by the private party, since the matter was pending in court. Once the land is handed over to the Tourism Department, action would be taken to develop an airport and allied tourism activities, the government stated in its reply.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been informed in this regard for getting site clearance and they would be visiting the site for review, sources said.
Further steps would be taken after an AAI team reviews the site and gives its report, he added.
Kalyanasundaram suggested that an IT park be established at the site of the airport at Lawspet.
This airport has been planned as the expansion of the Lawspet airport for the use of bigger aircrafts by getting the adjoining land from Tamil Nadu (adjoining the airport). Though Puducherry government has been pursuing the land acquisition with Tamil Nadu government since the previous tenure of Chief minister J Jayalalithaa, it was yet to come through. With the flight operators using mostly bigger crafts, the government wants to make the airport vibrant.
At present the airport can handle only ATR type of crafts. SpiceJet, which uses 78-seater Bombardier Q 400 aircraft on the Puducherry-Bangalore route, had to use smaller aircraft due to limitations of the runway, before it stopped its operations.