Completion likely by Dec: AAI official

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, Aug. 8

The work on the Visakhapatnam airport upgradation, interrupted last week due heavy rains and inundation, has been resumed and is going on at a brisk pace, according to the General Manager (Engineering), Airports Authority of India, Mr H.S. Suresh.

He said there was a disruption of work for a few days due to heavy rains and the consequent inundation of the airport.

The flights too had to be suspended for a few days. Flight operations resumed from Sunday.

Work resumes

"From Monday evening, the work is going on at full pace. Eighty per cent of the work on the runway has been completed. We hope to complete it by December, if there are no further stoppages," he said.

It may be noted that the expansion of the airport is being taken up here roughly at a cost of Rs 200 crore, with the Union Ministry of Defence, Airports Authority of India and the Andhra Pradesh Government bearing the expenditure.

The Union Ministry of Defence is contributing Rs 140 crore for the runway and the other two are giving Rs 50 crore.

Work on the new terminal building, for which the AAI is contributing Rs 95 crore, has also commenced. It is expected to be completed by mid-2007, according to Mr Suresh.

Tackling inundation

Considering the vulnerability of the airport to inundation during monsoon season, the runway is being built four feet above the ground level and the terminal building above seven feet.

A retaining wall is also being built at a cost of Rs 2 crore to keep the floodwaters out. However, these measures are not sufficient to deal with the problem. A permanent solution has to be found.

During his recent visit to Vizag after the floods, the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, asserted that the State Government was determined to find a solution to the problem.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 9, 2006)
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