India's most ambitious infrastructure project, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), has received a push with the ministry of civil aviation granting in-principle approval to the Dholera airport project in Gujarat.
The proposed airport, being developed jointly by Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) and the Gujarat government, would offer two parallel runways of 2,910 metres and 4,000 metres and would be developed in three phases at a cost of Rs 1,712 crore.
"The steering committee of the civil aviation ministry has reviewed the project aspects and given in-principle approval for its development. We are going to develop the airport jointly with the state government. The greenfield airport would serve the logistics requirements of the upcoming Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR), a huge industrial township planned in the DMIC," Alkesh Sharma, chief executive officer and managing director of DMICDC, told Business Standard.
The state government has already identified 1,426 hectares for the airport at Navagam village in Dholera, around 100 km from the international airport in Ahmedabad. Besides spillover traffic from the Ahmedabad airport, Dholera will serve the traffic from the nearby cities of Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Nadiad, Kheda and Anand. It has also been proposed that an aviation zone close to the airport be developed, for which 2,600 hectares of government land is available. DMIC's vision is to develop Dholera as an aerotropolis - a metropolitan region where the infrastructure and economy are driven by airport-centred commercial activities.
"Both DSIR and Dholera International Airport will be engines of economic growth in the state of Gujarat in the coming years, as both projects will see operations of Phase-I by the end of 2018," Sharma said.
The Airports Authority of India had prepared the detailed project report and the environmental impact assessment study of the project, which the steering committee of the civil aviation ministry reviewed before giving its in-principle approval. The Dholera International Airport Company Ltd, a joint venture company between the Gujarat government and the DMICDC, will select the private developer to develop the airport in public-private partnership or PPP mode.
Once completed, the Dholera airport will be a superior alternative to the Ahmedabad airport, which currently has limitations such as a partial taxiway, and faces non-availability of land for expansion.
In view of the huge potential of the project, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has also carried out a detail project survey to analyse funding possibilities.
The DMICDC is also working with the Rajasthan government to develop an international airport at Kotkasim in the proposed Khushkhera-Bhiwadi - Neemrana Investment region of Alwar district in Rajasthan.