Government of Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday (25.4.2022) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with federal ministry of civil aviation for developing a greenfield airport at Nagchala in Mandi district.
The agreement was signed at Delhi in the presence of union minister of civil aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia and chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.
A statement released by the civil aviation ministry after signing of the agreement read, “The new greenfield airport at Nagchala, Mandi is being developed under the Greenfield Airport Policy of MoCA and a Joint Venture Company between State Government of Himachal Pradesh and Airport Authority of India has been formed. The projected land requirement for airport is 515 acres approx. and the project is estimated to cost around Rs 900 crore excluding the cost of land.
A communique put out by the state government quoted the chief minister saying “the Greenfield Airport will be developed with a proposed runway of 3150 meters for which land 2840 Bighas has been identified. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has also conducted the Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) survey and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) survey. According to OLS and LIDAR survey reports, the airport at Mandi is feasible and suitable for round the year operations along with night landing and operation of AB-320 type of aircraft.”
The Mandi airport “will not only improve air connectivity to the state but will also boost tourism besides generating employment opportunities to local youth. The airport will also enable wide bodied aircraft which also includes landing of international flights, said Jai Ram Thakur.
Speaking on the occasion, Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “We are committed to provide last mile connectivity to the people of Himachal Pradesh. With this aim in mind, we are developing new aviation infrastructure as well as upgrading existing facilities in Himachal Pradesh whether it is development of new green field airport in Mandi or acquisition of additional land for extension of runways at existing airports. With this, we are committed to develop civil aviation as a harbinger of economic development for the region.”
With the airport slated to come up in one of the most fertile valleys of the state, the land acquisition costs would constitute a substantial part of the project with one estimate putting the total cost of the project at over Rs 3,000 crore at current prices.