Airport Expansion: Government Likely To Adopt Land-Pooling Method

The Centre is working on adopting the land-pooling methodology as an alternative mechanism for development and expansion of airports. This is being done to overcome the challenges that come with unavailability of land due to the surge in compensation cost for airport expansion projects since January 2015, when the First Schedule to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, kicked in.
“If the proposal receives an approval at the Government of India level then states will probably have to adopt some of the features of land-pooling in their respective state acts to give it legal teeth. It may take some time but the way I look at it, it is the way forward to plan airports in Indian cities,” Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told reporters here.
Earlier, Mohapatra had told The Indian Express, that state governments were becoming increasingly reluctant to part with land and give it to AAI for expanding capacities of terminals and bays at airports, in view of the high payout for acquiring land.
“Most of the airports are in congested parts of the city now that there is no scope for growth, and land acquisition in fully constructed areas around airports is difficult. The ministry is looking at the land-pooling method, which has been done in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra,” he said on Thursday, explaining that under pooling mechanism, people who part with their land parcels will get 60-70 per cent of their holdings back after infrastructure is developed on it.
Recently, representatives from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh made presentations to senior officials in the civil aviation ministry, including both ministers and the secretary, about their experiences “on the effectiveness of land-pooling” as an alternative to land acquisition for developing urban infrastructure. “Based on that, we gave an assignment to the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad for three greenfield airports to see whether they can be planned using land-pooling, and three brownfield airports to see whether they can be expanded.,” Mohapatra said. The airports being studied by CEPT include Bagdogra, Varanasi, Chennai and Nalanda.“We showed an alternative airport model to Bihar Chief Minister, who asked his officials to examine this. Earlier we received a proposal to build an airport near Nalanda, and the site was examined by AAI several years ago. This was then given to CEPT to find out if we require 800 acre of land to build an airport that can accommodate landing A320 or B737 aircraft, how much of land will need to be taken up under land-pooling,” he said.
On account of high passenger traffic growth in the country, a severe capacity constraint for expansion of infrastructure at various airports is also being experienced. Therefore, for AAI, while plans have been chalked out to expand capacities of terminals and bays at airports, data shows that many of the airports will reach saturation even after being expanded for lack of land availability.‘AAI envisages capex plan of Rs 20,500 cr’
New Delhi: AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said that the airports developer envisages a capital expenditure plan of Rs 20,500 crore for the next five years, which will be spent towards expansion of current airports and setting up of greenfield airports. To fund this capex, he said, AAI might tap the international markets to raise monies through bonds.

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