Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Kannur airport

Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -4

June 24-30, 2013

Lionel Messias

Kannur yet to take off

The Kannur International Airport proposed at Mattanur in Kerala was expected to have become operational by 2014.  Now 2015 is being mentioned as the next completion deadline.  The cost as estimated by its consultant Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) was put at $ 590 million and the equity structure of the company Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) that was set up was as follows: the state government – 26 per cent, state-owned public sector organizations - 23 per cent, – government companies – 2 per cent, private investors – 49 per cent.  The one positive thing that can be said about this fourth in the series “Runaway failures” is that of the 2,000 acres required for the Greenfield airport, 1,278 acres has been already acquired.  The land price for acquiring a further 642 acres of land was approved as far back as October 2012.

But as usual the contradictions as was seen with the three other failed airports written about in this continuing series was evident, because in March, 2012 the Kerala minister for excise and ports K Babu said in the assembly that construction of the runway would begin by year end.  He also said of the 2,200 acres required for the project, 1,277 acres had already been acquired and that acquisition work for taking over another 783 acres was in progress.  The figures Goanspirit has quoted above are also found on the KIAL’s official website.

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Aranmula airport

Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -3

June 17-23, 2013

Lionel Messias

Run, run, runway

It was that man again.  KN Srivastava, the central government’s civil aviation secretary confirming this time that the Aranmula international airport (sandwiched between Kochi and Thiruvanthapuram airports) had been approved.  On February 20, 2013 he said so on a news channel in Kerala (also see Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -2).  He had come to be like the handsome prince waking up (rather trying to) yet another sleeping beauty, with one problem -all his sleeping beauties went into coma instead.  By coincidence, a month later (in early March) the Kerala government had somehow convinced oil giant Indian Oil to pick up a 10 per cent stake in the private sector project.  In fact the Kerala government had forever been saying that it would take a similar stake in the Greenfield project.   It eventually did.

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Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -1

June 3-9, 2013

Lionel Messias

It is easy to plan a Greenfield airport in India and even easier to turn it into a political debate, political divide if you will, possibly even communal divide when necessary.  It is conversely an extremely difficult task to implement such a project not only because of the King Kong type of funding required, or because it displaces large populations, or the fact that at the end of the day even specialty infrastructure firms show interest only if they are spoon-fed all the way to the finish line.  This article is an attempt to explain how (and why) nine in all Greenfield airport projects failed to take off in India, all of them in or near giant industrial hubs; in states for example where more cars are produced annually (this being just one example) than Goa’s human population.  And remember while the former figure increases 30-40 per cent annually, the latter is virtually static.

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Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -2

June 10 - 16, 2013

Lionel Messias

Soft landing on Sriperumbudur

It is difficult to ascertain at this point in time when the idea of another airport for Chennai - at Sriperumbudur - was first ideated; but in May 2007, the then Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi did announce that his government had identified 4,820.66 acres of land for the proposed airport.  Coming from him as scam after scam in later years led to his party, the DMK, comes as no surprise.  But by February 2010 the Greenfield project was shelved.  With modernisation of the Chennai airport and taking into consideration traffic growth, the state and union governments decided not to go ahead with the Sriperumbudur project.  The main roadblock was the fact that the state government itself realized that many major cities in the world operate with one airport and Chennai really did not have the traffic volume to justify a second airport.

But the major stumbling block was the fact that the heavy additional expenditure involved to build a mass rapid rail link between the two airports could not be justified.

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An Airport to Nowhere

April 15-21, 2013

Lionel Messias

We were the first to break the story on the airport at Chipi slowly getting off the ground  in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district almost next door to Mopa, so close in fact that when the planned Mopa airport is ready and running, pilots wanting to land at Chipi might confuse the Mopa airport for it; and vice versa.  And we are not being funny, because this has happened around the world.  Goanspirit now has pictures of the site which prove that work on the Chipi airport has started in right earnest.  We also discovered that the land acquisition in Chipi went through unopposed because the land the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation chose was barren in the first place.  All we saw for kilometers and kilometers was hard rock and no vegetation of any kind except for dried grass.  And as you can see, pictures don’t lie.

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