Sunday, 17 August 2014

Looking for a perfect take-off

Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday held a meeting with Union civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and discussed the state government's plan to have 14 airports in Andhra Pradesh. However, the realization of the plan may depend on the success in acquiring sufficient land.

Naidu has big plans of turning AP into an air and maritime hub, which would provide enormous scope for economic development. The chief minister feels that if cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, which have only one airport and sea port, can become global cities, AP can develop by leaps and bounds with more.

According to sources, at the meeting in the Lake View Guest House, Naidu sought the Centre's help in developing 14 airports. While he plans to upgrade the existing airports at Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati, he sought help to develop 11 more in the other districts. The duo discussed issues of land acquisition, investments and revenue.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Raju said the Centre is committed towards upgrading the three existing airports into international ones. "These three airports figure in the AP Reorganization Act 2014, drafted by the previous government. The NDA government has already announced that it would honour the Act," the minister said.

When asked about the Vijayawada airport, he said the Centre is ready to expand the runway, but the state has to acquire the required land. He also said the Centre will not oppose of locals want to name the airports after prominent personalities like Alluri Sitaramaraju or Krishnadevarayalu.

He added that development of airports can generate more employment. "Ladakh, where the airport is operational for only a few months due to peculiar weather conditions, is able to flourish economically because of the airport," he said.



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