Bangalore: It's official. Its no longer Bangalore International Airport , but Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who did the honours to rename the airport with its newly expanded terminal here on Saturday, had one more request for the co-chairman of KIAB, GVK Reddy : install a statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda before the airport to complete its transformation.
His suggestion was backed by Union minister, M Veerappa Moily. Siddaramaiah appreciated farmers who gave up their land for the airport and said the local population must be given priority in employment by the KIAB.
Meanwhile, the airport's expanded terminal 1A, which is now better designed and has more facilities to offer passengers thanks to a Rs 1,500 crore project, was inaugurated by Union minister for civil aviation Ajit Singh .
“The newly expanded terminal will reach its capacity in the next five years. We are planning to construct another terminal and another runway, which will collectively cater to the needs of this airport till 20302035. We will place the proposal before the Board and the government soon,“ said G V K Reddy, adding that the KIAB was simultaneously working on a master plan for developing the land in possession of the airport.
GV Sanjay Reddy, MD, KIAB said the plan was to take the real estate development programme forward in 2014. “We are in the process of getting necessary approvals. Everywhere in the world, wherever a new airport comes up, a city soon emerges around it . This will happen in case of Bangalore's airport too,“ he added.
KN Srivastava, secretary, civil aviation requested the state government to fast track projects for rail and road connectivity between the city and the airport, pointing out that the existing NH 7 would not be sufficient in a few years. The Chief Minister agreed to consider his suggestion seriously.
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You can't dance your way to it
Bangalore: The international airport on Saturday was named after Bangalore founder Kempegowda and a sparkling new terminal was added, but the connectivity to the airport has not improved since May 24, 2008, when it became operational.
The Bellary Road, leading to the airport, is riddled with traffic jams, underconstruction elevated road and bad patches. Even after five years, the government is still struggling to provide a smooth corridor to the airport, which is expected to handle 15 million passengers by 2015.
There are no alternatives to Bellary Road and attempts by successive governments to provide connectivity to the airport have proved circuitous and expensive. The proposed elevated road to the airport has missed several deadlines.
Sometime back, Union Minister of State for Highways Sarvey Sathyanarayana inspected the road works and slammed National Highways Authority of India authorities, who are executing the project. He had set November-end as deadline to complete the project, but it passed without progress on the ground. Later, Union Minister for Highways Oscar Fernandes set a new deadline of January 2014.
But even this seems to be a tall order, considering the pace of work. NHAI authorities blame hurdles in acquiring land for the project for the delay.