The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for construction of an international airport by the GMR Group at Mopa in North Goa by lifting suspension on environmental clearance (EC) granted for the project.
Immediately after SC''s order, the GMR Group said it plans to start work soon for the new aerodrome.
The top court had early last year suspended the EC granted for the greenfield airport and had directed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) to revisit the decision in light of its impact on the ecology there.
"Delays in critical infrastructure projects is costly for the economy and the consumer. It is good that GMR Group''s Mopa project finally got clearance. We can look forward to new airport in next three years," CAPA South Asia Chief Executive Officer Kapil Kaul told PTI.
The state government had initially given September 2020 as the deadline for commissioning of the estimated Rs 3,000 crore airport project after GMR Group won bids for development and operations of the aerodrome in 2016, beating state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Essel Infra-Incheon.
However, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said in the Assembly last year that he was expecting the airport to be completed by 2021.
Kaul also said that the the delay is likely to push up the project cost, but its impact could be minimised.
"There will be cost escalation but GMR has the ability to minimise the impact," he said.
GMR had last year said it was incurring a loss of Rs 50 lakh per day on account of suspension of work at the project.
The new airport, which under the concession agreement offers 232 acres of land for commercial city side development for a period of 60 years, would have a capacity to handle 30 million passengers annually once fully operational.
The existing airport at Dabolim, which was designed to handle 50 lakh passengers per year, has far exceeded its capacity and AAI has already embarked on an expansion plan to increase the capacity to 1.30 crore passengers per annum by 2022.
The concession period for the greenfield project will be 40 years with a possible extension of another 20 years through a bid process.
The airport will be built under the BOT (Build Operate Transfer) model.
The regulatory regime for the concession will be hybrid till with 30 per cent cross subsidy.
Under the hybrid till model, only up to 30 per cent of the non-aeronautical revenues, which include segments like retail, food and beverages and parking, would be used for cross-subsidisation of aeronautical charges.
Aeronautical charges include those related to route and terminal navigation services. PTI IAS RVK