Agra civil terminal project ‘shelved for time being’ in absence of environmental...

Agra civil terminal project ‘shelved for time being’ in absence of environmental clearance


Agra civil terminal project shelved for time being’ in absence of environmental clearance

The construction of a civil terminal at Kheria airport in Agra

 has temporarily been stopped, four years after work on its boundary wall was initiated, due to lack of environmental clearance, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has said in its reply to an RTI query filed by Supreme Court lawyer KC Jain.

According to the RTI reply, the environment clearance for the 30,000-sqm terminal building with a capacity to handle 700 passengers at peak hours could not be obtained due to a court case. The estimated construction cost was Rs 398 crore.

The reply also mentions that an amendment application has been filed in the Supreme Court. “After getting the environmental clearance, the work plan will be made again.”

An AAI report on “projects under planning during calendar year 2020”, mentioning that tenders were invited for the development of the new civil enclave in Agra but it had to be cancelled, pending “conclusion of an ongoing court case and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEF).

Jain said the Supreme Court in its order dated December 11, 2019, had given permission to the AAI to build an additional terminal at Agra Airport. “In such a situation, it is surprising that the airport authority did not get the environmental clearance to build a civil terminal.”

“On one hand, there are talks about constructing a new civil terminal at the earliest. On the other hand, the disclosure in the RTI about the plan being shelved for the time is very disappointing for the tourism and other industries of Agra,” the senior advocate added.

Only five cities are connected by air with Agra: Bengaluru, Bhopal, Lucknow, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The air strip in the Agra Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force.

Director of the Agra airport, AA Ansari, too said the MoEF has not provided the required clearance for construction of the civil terminal as a matter related to it is pending in the Supreme Court. “We are going to file a petition in the Supreme Court to get the environment clearance. For this, a formal request has been sent to the headquarters.”

Meanwhile, passengers are facing a lot of inconveniences. Agra-based shoe exporter and social worker Puran Dawar said while smaller cities were getting their airports at a brisk pace, Agra has been denied the facility for unexplained reasons. “The Taj city draws over eight million tourists annually. Delay in the construction of the proposed civil enclave is highly objectionable. State and central government should take cognizance of the entire matter.”