Calcutta: The Bengal government has told Delhi it cannot provide the required 4,000 acres for the proposed second airport in Calcutta, for which the Airports Authority of India had requested it to arrange the land.
The state has urged the Centre to develop the Andal airport as an “alternative” instead, although the Centre had rejected such a request earlier saying the two airports were too far apart at 190km.
“It’s not possible to arrange for 4,000 acres in Calcutta’s neighbourhood. If the requirement were 1,500 acres, we could have tried to find the land in Bhangar,” a state official said.
Nabanna sources said the state government’s policy against forced acquisition was a factor too.
They said senior bureaucrats had met AAI officials and told them they cannot find the land, and revived the Andal proposal.
“Developing the Andal airport is the only way to manage the growing pressure on Calcutta airport. If the Centre has problems declaring Andal a second airport for Calcutta, it should consider it a standalone, alternative airport,” an official said.
AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said in Delhi recently that each of the four metros needs two airports.
“Sites have been identified for Delhi and Mumbai. Tamil Nadu will finalise the site (for Chennai) shortly. Bengal is yet to do that for Calcutta,” he had said.
Sources said the Bengal government had told the AAI that the infrastructure at Andal was almost ready and stressed that its 2.8km runway could accommodate mid-sized aircraft.
“The only thing the AAI needs to ensure is that air traffic control operates round the clock in Andal,” an official said.
He said the current problem could have been averted had the erstwhile Left government taken the initiative to expand the existing airport when New Town was being planned in Rajarhat.