AP signs pact with GMR group for development of Bhogapuram airport

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Amaravati: Decks have now been fully cleared for the development of a new international greenfield airport at Bhogapuram near Visakhapatnam as the Andhra Pradesh government on Friday signed a concession agreement with project developer GMR Airports Ltd.

On March 4, the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy cabinet decided to permit the GMR group to go ahead with the development of theBhogapuramInternational Airport in the Public-Private Partnership mode and approved the “highest bid” offered by GMR.

However, GMR would be given only 2,200 acres of land as against 2,703 originally proposed, with the state government deciding to develop the remaining land on its own.

On Friday, state Special Chief Secretary (Industries and Infrastructure) Karikal Valaven and GMR Chairman G B S Raju signed the concession agreement in the presence of the Chief Minister Jagan and Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy.

As per the latest development model, GMR has offered to pay Rs 303 PPF (per passenger fee) to the government.

As per projections, the number of passengers is expected to be 3.1 million by 2021 and nine million by the year 2036, sources in the AP Airports Development Corporation said.

Development of a new international airport atBhogapuram, 40-km northeast of Visakhapatnam, was first mooted in the year 2014 post-bifurcation of the state.

For various reasons, the project did not take off in close to six years.

In August 2017, Airports Authority of India had won the bid to develop the Bhogapuram airport but the state government in January 2018 annulled it and the YSR Congress, then in opposition, alleged that it was to done to “favour GMR for kickbacks.”

In the subsequent tender floated by the government, GMR reportedly emerged as the highest bidder as the finance model has been changed.