Kolkata airport to get Rs2,000 crore upgrade

Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is headed for Rs2,000 crore upgradation programme by 2010, without private participation. Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel said in Kolkata on Friday 7 September that the airport would not be inferior in any way to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Work on the upgrade is expected to begin in January next year. The airport, which can presently handle five million passengers, will be able to cater to 20 million by 2010 and, eventually, 60 million.

"Kolkata airport will be the hub for the entire eastern and north eastern region. The government is committed to building up the traffic from Kolkata within the country as well as overseas," Patel said.

West Bengal will get a new airport at Andal, near Durgapur, where a Rs10,000 crore township has been sanctioned. There will be private participation in the project, which is spread over 2,300 acres. Land acquisition has already begun.

"A new city will come up between Durgapur and Asansol. Adjoining it will be the airport," West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said.

Patel is to return to Kolkata later this month, to flag off a flight to the recently reopened airport at Coochbehar. He also said that Bagdogra, north Bengal's only airport, will go international, "sooner rather than later".