After several delays, the foundation stone for Bhogapuram International Airport will be laid by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on May 3, states Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath said on Monday (April 10). Here is what we know so far about this greenfield airport project:
Where is Bhogapuram?
Bhogapuram village lies 61 km northeast of Visakhapatnam. It lies on the border of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts and would be a major link to the port city, which Reddy aims to turn into the executive capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Who is developing the airport?
The Hyderabad-based GMR Group, which has been awarded the contract to build and operate the airport, said earlier that it plans to invest Rs 5,000 crore into developing the Bhogapuram airport.
GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport Ltd (GVIAL) is a subsidiary of the GMR Airports Ltd (GAL). The project will be based on a public-private partnership (PPP) model on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
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How will people benefit from the project?
The project is expected to benefit people in north Andhra, Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath said on Monday.
GMR Group’s Chairman, GM Rao, had announced at the Global Investors Summit 2023 in Visakhapatnam that the airport would initially have the capacity to serve six million passengers but ultimately go on to cater to 40 million passengers annually.
Apart from the passenger terminal, the airport is expected to have state-of-the-art cargo facilities to facilitate exports. A metropolis has been planned to be developed around the airport. It will comprise an airspace zone, an industrial zone, and education and healthcare zones.
Rao expects Bhogapuram airport to help transform Visakhapatnam and position the state as a preferred investment destination globally, boosting the region’s economic growth, and creating job opportunities. It may also help attract more tourists to the region.
Last month, Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari announced the sanction of 6,300 crore for a six-lane, 55-km national highway connecting Visakhapatnam Beach Road to Bhogapuram International Airport and to NH-16.
When was the project planned?
The Bhogapuram airport was proposed right after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh (and the birth of Telangana) in 2014. However, the project got delayed due to land acquisition hurdles.
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Status of land acquisition for the airport
The Telugu Desam Party government in 2014 had initially started acquiring 2,700 acres for the airport. In 2019, N Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the airport but work had to be stopped due to legal trouble over land acquisition.
The current government has resumed the project on 2,200 acres. In November last year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed all writs challenging the land acquisition, paving the way for the construction of the proposed airport at Bhogapuram.
Since then, the Vizianagaram district administration has completed nearly all land acquisition. The displaced families from Rellipeta, Mudasarlapeta, Bollinkalapalem, and Maradapalem villages have been allotted five cents of land each at Lingalavalasa and Gudepuvalasa rehabilitation colony and paid Rs 9.20 lakh following the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.
According to the administration, all necessary amenities, including roads, drains, overhead water tanks, electrification, community buildings, Anganwadi centres, primary schools and parks, have been built.
On Monday, Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath said 2,195 acres of land out of the 2,200 acres required have been acquired and the rest will be available soon.
When will the project be completed?
Amarnath said the airport construction will be completed within 24 to 30 months after laying the foundation.
(With agency inputs)