The aviation sector in India is poised for a huge growth in the coming years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here yesterday.
Presently, there are a total of around 450 aircraft operating in the country, but that will be more than tripled with over 900 new aircraft to be deployed over the next few years in the country, Modi said.
“The aviation sector worldwide is moving very fast... we cannot afford to lag. For 70 years, there was no aviation policy in India, which we have implemented recently to provide all-round connectivity to the remotest corners of India at affordable rates,” the prime minister said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Rs160bn Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) and the inauguration of the country’s largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), built at a cost of Rs47bn.
“We want people wearing ‘hawai-chappal’ to be able to fly in a ‘hawai-jahaz’... the aviation sector has huge potential of giving over three-and-half times returns as from an investment of Rs100, we can get Rs350 in a period of time by boosting trade and commerce, movement of people, tourism and all-round development,” Modi said.
Maharashtra Governor C V Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, federal ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Ramdas Athawale, state ministers and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
Referring to the development of ports, the Sagarmala Project, and terrestrial projects in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, Modi said the country needs world-class infrastructure for progress.
“We are working on ‘port-led’ development and not merely ports development, and have identified over a 100 waterways in India for transport which will be cost-effective and eco-friendly,” he said.
Modi painted a futuristic picture of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai over the next few years with aircraft taking off from the NMIA, cars zooming along the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, connectivity by high-speed metro rail network and the proposed gigantic statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj coming up in the Arabian Sea off Malabar Hill.
Stressing the need for top infrastructure projects, Modi said there were many projects which were launched or inaugurated and then abandoned and existed merely on paper. But he added he initiated the Pragati scheme by which all such projects were brought out of files, discussed, revived and many are on the path of implementation across India.
India’s first Greenfield Airport project, NMIA will be the second international aviation hub for Mumbai, presently served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which has almost reached saturation point.
The new airport is being constructed by the GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd (GVKPIL) in collaboration with the City & Industrial Development Corp (CIDCO), the nodal authority of Maharashtra to oversee the project implementation.
The NMIA will be constructed in the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode on 1,160 hectares on the mainland in Navi Mumbai, across the Mumbai harbour, with the advantage of the upcoming Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a Special Economic Zone and other major infrastructure developments coming up.
The JNPT’s Fourth Container Terminal (FCT)’s Phase I was completed in a record time at a cost of Rs47bn. It will double its existing capacity and is expected to boost container trade and logistics in a big way.
The FCT will add capacity of 2.4mn containers per annum in the first phase and after completion of the second phase in 2022, the capacity will be quadrupled to a whopping 10mn containers per year, at a cost of Rs79bn, Gadkari said.
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