Airstrip to come up in Kuppam soon

Airstrip to come up in Kuppam soon

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidus Assembly constituency Kuppam will soon have an airstrip instead of an airport as was planned earlier

Tirupati: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s Assembly constituency Kuppam will soon have an airstrip instead of an airport as was planned earlier.

It was the brainchild of Naidu to have a green field airport in the remote area of the district Kuppam so that people from surrounding places can reach Tirupati international airport easily and send their exports to any other places.

But ministries concerned, Defence and Civil Aviation, have turned down the proposal to issue no objection certificate (NOC) and other approvals citing Bengaluru International Airport, which is in 150 km range as the major reason.

Upset with the Centre’s attitude, the State government has decided to go with building an airstrip in place of greenfield airport with an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. The government believes that this move will induce exports from the region.

It may be noted that climatic conditions in the region are conducive for flower gardens and huge quantities of flowers being produced there along with vegetables and fruits.

Vegetables being produced in an estimated 4,000-5,000 acres and flowers in over 5,000 acres whereas fruit gardens can be found in another 300 acres. All these farmers are now exporting their products to nearby places only as they are perishable commodities.

Once they get an opportunity to transport them easily to far off places, they can be able to return with huge marketing avenues and airstrip is proposed from this point of view.

As the Cabinet cleared the proposal for an airstrip at Kuppam during its recent meeting on August 2, the district authorities have speeded up the land acquisition procedures. It was learnt the government has agreed to pay Rs 5 lakh per acre as compensation to land owners.

Speaking to The Hans India, joint collector P S Gireesha said they have been acquiring 500 acres initially while steps were on to acquire another 500 acres.

For 1,000 acres, the land acquisition costs the exchequer an estimated Rs 40-45 crores. Everything is ready to take the possession of 500 acres land for which compensation will be paid in the next 10-15 days, he revealed.

“The airstrip will have all the facilities which any airport is having but commercial flights will not be operated from there. Any other chartered flight or cargo flights can be operated which will become a boon to exports from that area,” Gireesha maintained.

The proposed location of airstrip at Shantipuram mandal of Kuppam constituency will be just 20-25 km away from the 8-lane express highway that connects Bengaluru-V Kota-Chittoor-Chennai. The airstrip will have better connectivity to many areas so that it can be developed as logistics hub, he added.

“The overall intention of getting airstrip was that it can become a logistics hub for several important items that reach Chennai port and the idea was to push for more development in the region,” the JC explained.

He said there are no problems in land acquisition for initial 500 acres and all farmers have agreed to give away their lands as it will take the region forward towards industrial development path.

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