New terminal cleared for Agra airport

Agra : The Uttar Pradesh government’s nod for acquiring around 50 acres of land for constructing a new terminal at Agra’s Kheria Airport, which is part of an Indian Air Force base, has raised hopes of majorly boosting the Taj city’s tourism industry.

The state government has sanctioned Rs.60 crores for the land acquisition, though farmers’ bodies have been demanding compensation at the prevailing market rates. The district authorities have been advised to negotiate one-to-one and speed up the acquisition process so that work can start before the model code of conduct kicks in ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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“The lone flight we now have is erratic, does not stick to schedule and there are abrupt cancellations. Tourists are, therefore, hesitant to book tickets,” Rajiv Tiwari, a senior tourism industry leader and president of the Federation of Travel Agents Associations of India, told IANS. adding the new development augers well for the industry.

“We had demanded VAT reduction to 4 percent on aviation fuel for all airlines landing in Agra, but the ministry has only allowed the reduction for airlines that fly 60,000 kms in UP (Uttar Pradesh). The benefit should be extended to all without pre-conditions because only then will airlines take interest in operating flights to Agra,” Tiwari said.