Fund crunch for acquiring 10 more acres delays Vellore airport ops
VELLORE: The much-touted airport at Vellore is now hamstrung by lack of funds, which has resulted in the newly constructed airport infrastructure gathering dust, sources revealed.
Though 90 per cent of works at the airport are now completed, AAI (Airports Authority of India) suddenly demanded extra 10 acres of land to include more facilities, which resulted in district revenue officials having their work cut out.
“Though originally 97 acres were allotted, the AAI has now asked for an additional 10 acres which has stalled completion as the land in question belongs to two private parties,” an official stated on condition of anonymity.
“As land is categorized based on various parameters, the owner of one portion has demanded that same rate as offered to his counterpart which necessitates shelling out Rs 28 crore for both parties,” the official said.
Vellore Collectorate officials said, “We have sent the relevant files to Chennai requesting Rs 28 crore, but as the state is hamstrung for funds, we do not envisage the airport project getting funds for completion any time soon.”
Meanwhile, the terminal building constructed at a cost of Rs 61 crore is now lying idle as also the completed 850 metres runway, which bisected Abdullapuram – Asanambut Road.
“It is only after completion of all works that the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) will issue the necessary permits to make the facility operational.
Though the facility relies on passengers from CMC, VIT Golden Temple and the leather industry in neighbouring Tirupattur district, one question making the rounds was whether flying to Chennai - as envisaged earlier – was not costlier compared to using the road. “The check in time at Vellore airport, flying duration and getting out of Chennai airport after reaching there will be the same as travelling by road, but cheaper,” said an old Vellore resident and there matters stand today.