Government wants more airports in India

Monday, 24 September 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Kolkata: The civil aviation ministry wants to increase the number of airports in the country to 500 from the present 80 to cope up with increasing passenger and freight traffic.

"The country needs 500 airports for which our ministry has urged the state governments to provide the necessary infrastructural support, including land and road connectivity," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said here Sunday.

Laying the foundation for developmental work at the Behala Flying Club in west Kolkata, Patel said Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have already approached the central government for developing new airports.

Patel said his ministry was planning to develop a full-fledged airport at Behala, for which the West Bengal government has been asked to acquire land.

"We plan to start commercial operations from Behala to the northeastern states and the northern part of West Bengal," he said.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who was present on the occasion, said the state government would provide all assistance to the ministry and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for any new airport.

Patel is in Kolkata, a city where he was born, for his daughter Niyati's engagement with a Kolkata-based businessman.
Source: IANS
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