New Delhi: Caught in a cross fire between the Planning Commission and the Civil Aviation Ministry, the GMR group has informed the government of as many as 14 issues are beyond its control and needs help to complete the Rs8,975 crore Delhi airport project by 2010.
Listing out challenges to execution of international terminal, the group company DIAL told the Planning Commission it immediately required additional augmentation of immigration and security staff, even for X-ray machines for maximum utilization of existing facilities even before the new counters are added by June.
The delays and inconvenience faced by him while seeing off some guests at the international airport had prompted Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to hold a review meeting with DIAL, a move that triggered a public spat with Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.
In a presentation consisting of nearly five dozen slides, GMR officials listed out restrictions in carrying out some demolition and construction activities for which it could not be faulted, informed sources said.
While DIAL officials declined to talk about the presentation they made at the review meeting, Ahluwalia said: “One of the bottlenecks is number of points at which security clearance becomes necessary. This is not something airport managers do.
GMR says it requires 1,400 additional Central Industrial Security Force personnel for manning the airport. Greater manpower is also needed for the proposed rise in the number of immigration counters from 56 to 100 by June.
“This is a function performed by the Bureau of Security that essentially involves government providing more personnel to manage these things. We are taking that up with relevant ministries that is what these reviews are for.”
DIAL says there has been delay in getting approval from Customs and Immigration for refurbishment plans. Removal of dismantled material has also posed significant challenges.
Noting that “Beijing airport benefited from tremendous government support,“ GMR officials are understood to have told the Commission that DIAL is working on an aggressive commissioning schedule that compares favourably with global standards.
The schedule of completion for IGI Airport-T3, having a capacity of 34 million passengers, is 37 months, as compared to 25 million capacity in 36 months at Beijing airport’s new T3 terminal for Olympics.
It also cited capacity schedule of 25 million in 60 months at Heathrow T5 and 22 million in 76 months at Changi Airport-Singapore (T3).
DIAL has said that despite the planned capacity addition, peak-hour constraints might continue till the T3 (Terminal 3) opens in 2010. Measures are being taken to increase the capacity, taking into account the projected traffic of 9.26 million passengers for 2009-10.
GMR would require 1,400 additional Central Industrial Security Force personnel for manning the airport. Greater manpower would be also needed for the proposed increase in number of immigration counters from existing 56 to 100 by June.
DIAL was awarded the upgradation project in May 2006.
In its presentation, GMR said that delay by airlines to relocate their back offices, poor state of roof- slab of the terminal, causing large-scale leakages, and construction of temporary offices for all functional offices have also been some major challenges in executing the international terminal project.
Besides, in executing the domestic terminal upgradation project, there has been delay of eight months in relocation of Indian Air Force (IAF) blocks, while there has been a four- month delay in relocation of VIP gate.
Stoppage of the road-widening works at the main entry by NSG since January 2008 and non-relocation of Yellow Fever Hospital from the domestic terminal have also hampered the progress.
On the Central Road Research Institute’s recommendations about the connectivity projects, GMR officials requested constitution of a committee of all concerned agencies to expeditiously resolve all issues related to these suggestions.
They also sought timely execution of airport connectivity projects well before the Commonwealth Games.