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India issues guidelines for Greenfield airports

NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian government has laid down rules for those proposing to set up Greenfield airports in the country. The government has promised that it would give site clearance within three months of filing applications.

As India's aviation sector is expanding, the government has planned to strengthen infrastructure. It is estimated that there would be more than 500 airfields in the country by 2020. The airports are coming at new places. The ministry of defence was initially reluctant to give permission to set up new airports near sensitive locations but it has also relaxed its rules in some areas. India's first Greenfield airport at southern city of Hyderabad was opened recently.

The applications would be processed by a steering committee headed by the civil aviation secretary. The committed would also take views of the Airport Authority of India and Director General of Civil Aviation before approving an application.

The applicants would have to visit the proposed site of the airfield and the clearance would come from the civil aviation ministry. The steering committee will convey its recommendations regarding the site clearance within three months of the application being made to the committee, said a statement released by the government.

Applicants would also need to get clearance from the ministry of defence, home ministry and finance ministry wherever required. It may be noted that the ministry of defence has its own guidelines on seeking clearance for Greenfield airport projects.

If approval is granted in-principal by the steering committee, the applicant will have to get an aerodrome license from the DGCA. The new guidelines will be applicable to establishment of airports, heliports and up gradation of air-fields but establishment of private airports will not be under the purview of these guidelines.

In April this year, the government had approved the new Greenfield Airports Policy wherein prior mandatory approval of the Cabinet for setting up of Greenfield airports was partially done away with.

To begin with, the steering committee approved setting up of a Greenfield airport at Sindhudurg in Maharashtra in western India. The state government would set up the new airport at an estimated cost of Rs 492 crore. It would be developed by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation.

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