West Bengal inks agreement to develop airport city


Kolkata : The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) Friday signed a joint venture agreement with a private group, Bengal Aerotropolis Project Ltd (BAPL), to develop an airport city in the industrial township of Durgapur.

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The urban social infrastructure project comprises an airport with 3.2 km runway and aircraft maintenance facility. Besides, there will be an industrial and IT complex, logistics hub, retail complex, hospital and housing complex.

“The total quantum of land required for the project would be 2,300 acres. Land would be purchased by WBIDC and handed over to BAPL by way of 99-year lease. WBIDC will facilitate the project,” West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen told reporters here.

He said the primary focus of the project would be to develop the airport first.

“We have also given certain terms and conditions to the developers. The process of land acquisition is yet to be started and the state government is now negotiating with the local people regarding the land deal,” he said.

“This airport will serve the entire Durgapur-Asansol industrial region and also create air link with the neighbouring industrial areas like Dhanbad,” Sen said.

The Rs.100 billon ($2.5 billion) project is expected to be completed in seven years from the date the land would be delivered to BAPL. The airport, which would require 650 acres of land, would be completed within 30 months from the date of commencement of the project.

“We are also planning to develop added facilities like an aviation academy and night parking facility for the flights. Talks are on with several aviation companies to make the airport viable. Indian Airlines has already shown interest in this project at Durgapur,” BAPL director Partha Ghosh said.

He said an agency has already been appointed to conduct a techno-economic study for the project.

He said the airport would be solely developed by BAPL but for the other specialised components, like theme parks, hospitals and housing estates, the company might involve some co-developers in the project.

“The project would be developed in phases and the funding would be made through equity and institutional debts,” Ghosh said.