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"25th November is a major day for India's and Uttar Pradesh's strides in infra creation. At 1 pm the foundation stone of the Noida International Airport will be laid. This project will significantly boost commerce, connectivity and tourism," the PM tweeted. This will be the PM's first public event in western UP since the farm laws were withdrawn.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said he expects investments of over Rs 10,000 crore after the first phase and up to Rs 35,000 crore once the airport is fully built. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has claimed the Noida airport will be Asia's largest and will generate employment opportunities for more than one lakh people.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the centre said the development of the airport was in line with the Prime Minister's vision of creating a "future-ready aviation sector". The centre also claimed "special focus" on UP - which will hold elections next year, with the BJP bidding to retain control of the key state ahead of the 2024 general election.
The airport will be about 72 km from Delhi's Indira Gandhi airport - the only other international airport in the national capital region. It will be about 40 km from Noida. It will be spread over 1,300 hectares and work on the first (of four) phases is due to be over by 2024 - when the Lok Sabha election will be held. The estimated cost is Rs 10,500 crore.
The airport, however, has run into controversy over protests from farmers whose lands had been acquired for construction. They have camped in tents 700 metres from the airport. A local BJP MLA admitted land had been acquired in a hurry.
Fully operational, the Noida International Airport is expected to serve around 1.2 crore passengers per year, with Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Agra, Faridabad, and nearby areas set to benefit. It will also decongest traffic in and around IGI airport, the centre has said.
Connectivity will be handled by a "multimodal transit hub" with metro and high-speed rail, as well as taxi and bus, services. Noida and Delhi will be linked via "hassle-free metro services" and major roads will link the airport to other cities, the centre said.
The cargo terminal will have a capacity of 20 lakh metric tonnes, that can be expanded to 80 lakh metric tonnes. The airport, the centre said, would facilitate "seamless movement of industrial products" and help boost industrial growth in the region. Billed as India's first 'net zero emissions' airport, the centre also land will be set aside for a 'forest'.
"The design of the airport focuses on the convenience of passengers. Processes at the airport will be digitally enabled. We're working towards being a net-zero carbon emission airport and aim to be operational by September or October 2024," Kiran Jain, the chief operating officer of the airport, said.
Uttar Pradesh has eight operational airports at present, including international airports in Lucknow and Varanasi (Prime Minister Modi's constituency). A third was inaugurated at Kushinagar (a Buddhist pilgrimage site) last month and a fourth - in the temple town of Ayodhya - which the BJP has grand plans to convert into a tourist hub.
With input from ANI, PTI