Visakhapatnam: With thousands of acres of fertile agricultural lands being taken away from local farmers for the Bhogapuram Airport, former energy secretary and Forum for Better Visakha convener E.A.S. Sarma has urged the Civil Aviation Ministry not to allow the project.
“Without any public consultation, the state government has unilaterally decided to set up an international airport near Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district. Their proposal is ill-conceived as it has prompted a number of political leaders from the ruling party to make money through dubious land deals around Bhogapuram,” he said.
“The project would also disrupt the lives of thousands of people directly employed at Vizag airport and thousands more indirectly dependent on the airport-related activity,” he said in a letter to Union Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday.
Earlier, he had written a letter to Civil Aviation secretary on the AP government’s move to exclude the Airports Authority of India (AAI) from an opportunity to bid for the Bhogapuram airport project. Now, he has urged the Union minister not to impede AAI’s operations at Vizag airport.
AAI has already invested Rs 40 crore in the last couple of years to develop airside capacity, which includes runways and aprons. It plans to spend another Rs 60 crore on a new terminal building, which will take the current capacity of three million passengers to almost five million. The new airport at Bhogapuram will render AAI’s investments infructuous.
“When the state called for bids for the Bhogapuram airport, AAI had offered the best terms in the first round. However, the original tender was revoked in order to exclude AAI from the bidding process. Several improprieties would come out if a CBI enquiry was ordered into the circumstances that led to this change,” Mr Sarma said.
He further claimed that the state had been systematically undermining the Central PSUs with apparently ulterior motives. Though Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has the capacity and expertise to expand its operations along the east coast, the state has excluded VPT from setting up a port at Bhavanapadu in Srikakulam district and doled out the contract to the Adani Group....