UP for Meerut airport, G Noida realty may ski

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Feb 22, 2010, 4:33:18 PM2/22/10
UP for Meerut airport, G Noida realty may skid
Lalit Kumar, TNN, Feb 23, 2010, 12.56am IST

GREATER NOIDA: In a move that Greater Noida officials admit may bring
down property prices in the area, the Uttar Pradesh government has
decided to shift its proposal for an international airport from
Greater Noida to Meerut.

In a public notice, Ravindra Singh, UP's principal secretary for civil
aviation, has invited bids for appointment of consultants for setting
up an international airport at Meerut, to be implemented in the public-
private partnership mode on design, build, finance, operate and
transfer basis. These consultants will later work in the capacity of
project management consultants. Ravindra Singh was not available for

Though an international airport at Meerut may attract some travellers
heading to Delhi, the project mainly seeks to cater to western UP and

Said Shravan Kumar Sharma, Meerut divisional commissioner, "We already
have an airstrip at Partapur in Meerut. It is a small strip which will
be lengthened to make it suitable for large jets to land and take off.
The facilities will be upgraded and made fit for use as an
international airport."

Sharma refused to confirm reports that the state government had
already released Rs 73 crore for the purpose of compensating those
whose lands may be acquired for the airport. Sharma is ex-officio
chairman of the Meerut Development Authority which has been appointed
the nodal authority for the project.

Mohinder Singh, chairman of Greater Noida Industrial Development
Authority, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. But a
senior GNIDA official, not wishing to be named, said, "There obviously
cannot be two airports as close to each other as Meerut and Greater
Noida. So hopes of an airport in Greater Noida will have to be given
up. And there might be a decline in land prices here, just as there
was an escalation with hopes of an airport coming."

Ajit Sisodia, a realtor in Greater Noida, agreed. "There will be a
drop in both purchases and rates of property in Greater Noida when
people come to know that consultants are being called in to build an
airport in Meerut. People may even start taking refunds," he said.

However, Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal is not convinced that the state
government is serious about building an international airport in
Meerut. "The state government had not even sought the Union
government's approval for an airport in Meerut at least until mid-
December last year. I think some people in power merely want to push
up land prices in Partapur so that properties owned by certain
individuals can be sold at very high rates."

Inquiries made by TOI revealed that land rates in the area had indeed
gone up considerably in the past few weeks, ever since talk of an
airport in the area gathered momentum.


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