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Companies scramble for private airstrips news
05 May 2008

New Delhi: Companies are now scrambling for approvals for projects to set up private airstrips and airports, now that the government has allowed their participation in setting up these facilities. What's more, the rush is not limited by geography, and companies across India are queuing up to develop these  private airstrips.

Sahara India is reported to be awaiting the approval for its heliport at its Amby Valley City near Lonavala in Maharashtra. Similarly, aluminum company Vedanta has applied for an airstrip in Orissa, and Gwalior Sugar has applied for a private airport near Gwalior.

The Adani Group is reported to be looking at a private and public airstrip at their special economic zone at the port city of Mundra. Corporate hospitals such as Escorts in the national capital region (NCR) would like to see a heliport built to support their medical facilities. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) too is reported to be evaluating a rooftop helipad.

A number of upcoming construction projects are also reported to be provisioning for helipads, and are expected to apply soon. Recently in the news, was the rooftop helipad coming up on the roof of the 27-story Ambani residence in south Mumbai.

At the head of the queue are industrial houses, who are keen to develop private airstrips. Given the new policy, sources indicate that these applications could be cleared shortly. The government too is counting on a more-or-less continuous flow of applications, which can be processed and cleared by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) or at the ministry level. However, in certain cases approval from the defence forces' might be required as well, if the site was in proximity to any military base. For example, in the recent past, the Navy had objected to granting a rooftop helipad to Taj Wellington Mews in Mumbai, as it neighboured a Naval base.

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Companies scramble for private airstrips