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CHENNAI: The Centre seems set to revive the second airport project at Sriperumbudur, with the ministry of commerce and industry including it on a list of projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) to attract global investors. The Sriperumbudur airport development project, estimated at 15,000 crore, is expected to start in March 2021 and end in April 2023. The NIP website listing shows it is at the "idea stage" and that land has been acquired fully. However, it does not mention the size of land though it is estimated that 4,500 acres would be required as the plan is to have an Aero City for aviation infrastructure and training. The idea of including the project in the NIP is to look for global investors. The selected firm may have to invest 500crore and may design, build and hand over the project to whoever manages the airport. The project is expected to be taken up under EPC mode though airports are usually developed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Almost 10 years ago, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the ICAO conducted feasibility study of the Sriperumbudur site and submitted a report to the state government saying the location is ideal for a new airport. Land was frozen for acquisition. However, the TN government lost interest and began looking for an alternative site which got delayed. The government zeroed in on a possible site at Parandur near Sunguvarchatiram for a second airport and is preparing to float a tender to identify a consultant to prepare a financial model and recommend development under PPP mode. Cheyyur and Mamandur were also considered as possible locations. The ministry of civil aviation has already been pushing for developing a second airport for Chennai before the existing airport gets saturated. It scaled down the need for land to 2,500acres. Attempts by Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) to float tenders thrice failed after prospective bidders wanted the government to first identify the site. Sources say there is a delay in deciding. "They said acquiring land is expensive in Sriperumbudur and wanted to look for another site. AAI insisted that land be identified fast because it may take at least 10 years to plan and build an airport," said an official.

Publisher Name: Times of India


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