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GMR Group invites EoI bids for construction of airport at Bhogapuram

1st phase will be made operational with an investment of Rs 2,300 cr

GMR Group invites EoI bids for construction of airport at Bhogapuram
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Visakhapatnam: Even as the dispute over acquisition of 50-odd acres is in the process getting sorted out, the GMR Group has sought Expression of Interest (EoI) to shortlist bids for development of Bhogapuram International Airport, about 50 km from here.

The commercial operation of the greenfield airport will put a question mark over continuation of Visakhapatnam International Airport, under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy, for operating commercial flights. Also known as INS Dega Airport, the airport is mainly meant to meet the requirements of Eastern Naval Command (ENC). The headquarters of ENC is located in Visakhapatnam.

The bidder will be finalised from the shortlisted contractors. July 18 is the last date for submission of bids. The airport first phase will be made operational with an investment of Rs 2,300 crore. Sources connected with the project told Bizz Buzz that the original project might have escalated due to delay in obtaining site clearance from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and handing over of complete land required for the project by the State Government.

Minister for Industries and Commerce Gudivada Amarnath on a number of occasions reiterated the State Government's commitment to take up work on the project on a fast-track mode. There has been buzz since the ushering in the New Year that anytime Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will lay the foundation stone for the project.

The YSRCP Government had finalised the project for development in 2253 acres. The erstwhile TDP Government had a grandiose plan to develop an international airport along with an aerotropolis city with aviation linked manufacturing, aircraft maintenance and repair (MOR), training and research facilities, which of course could not take off.

GMR Airports Limited (GAL), which bagged the project subsequently formed a special purpose vehicle GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport Limited for building the airport on DBFOT basis. It had promised to pay Rs.303 per passenger as its share from its revenue to the government.

The project proponent envisaged handling 12 million passengers per annum in phase two and 31.8 million in phase two. As per the original projections made during the TDP regime, it was supposed to handle 3.1 million in 2021 and nine million in 2036.

The Visakhapatnam International Airport, which at present has direct flights to Singapore and has plans to revive connectivity to Dubai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, registered a 45% growth in passengers with an increase from 11.13 lakh passengers in 2020-21 to 16.1 in 2021-21. "With improvement in the situation, this financial year we will have a remarkable increase in the number of passengers," Airport Advisory Committee member O Naresh Kumar, said.

Santosh Patnaik
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