Panel recommends green clearance for Hyderabad airport expansion plan
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New Delhi: An expert panel of the Union environment ministry has recommended environment clearance for the proposed expansion of the congested Hyderabad international airport, which will raise its capacity to 25 million passengers per year.
The proposal for the project, estimated to cost Rs2,629 crore, was discussed at the 25-27 May meeting of the ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) for infrastructure projects. The ministry will take a final decision on granting environment clearance.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) is operated and managed by GMR Airports Ltd of the GMR group. The airport that began commercial operations in March 2008 has a capacity to handle 12 million passengers and 100,000 tonnes of cargo per year. The annual number of passengers at the airport is already about 15.2 million.
Airport capacity increases across the country seem to have fallen behind pace of growth in passenger traffic. The worst-hit airports are those in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa, Lucknow and Calicut.
“No land acquisition is involved as all the expansion activities are planned within the RGIA site area of 5,495 acres,” the committee was told at the meeting.
EAC was also informed that project construction is expected to generate direct employment of more than 5,000 and indirect employment for over 10,000 across 5-6 years.
According to the minutes of the EAC’s meeting seen by Mint, the company admitted before EAC that the “proposed airport expansion project would have some environmental impacts” but those can be “effectively mitigated by judicious implementation of the environment management plan as suggested”.
“After detailed deliberations, the EAC recommended the project for environmental clearance,” the minutes said.
The expert committee, however, stipulated several conditions to avoid pollution, including adequately barricading the site before the construction begins. It also recommended soil and other construction materials should be sprayed with water prior to any loading, unloading or transfer operation, soil/construction materials carried by the vehicle should be covered by impervious sheeting to ensure that the dusty materials do not leak from the vehicle and that a clearance will be sought from the Central Ground Water Authority for usage of ground water for the project.
It also called for implementing rain water harvesting.
“During airport operation period, noise should be controlled to ensure that it does not exceed the prescribed standards. During night time, the noise levels measured at the boundary of the building shall be restricted to the permissible levels to comply with the prevalent regulations. A monitoring station for ambient air and noise levels shall be provided in the village nearest to the airport,” the committee said.
Last week, the GMR Airports Ltd, a unit of GMR Infrastructure Ltd, won the rights to build, operate and manage an airport in Greece, its second international airport after Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in the Philippines.