Dholera SIR Airport

The Indian government in one of its expansionist policies has mooted the idea for the construction of a Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) which would pass through Mumbai and Delhi. More than 30% of this corridor would be passing through the Gujarat region and the government intends to allocate a 150km stretch around this corridor to be developed as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). These centers are to be expanded as hubs of commercial manufacturing businesses. Zeroing in on the Ahmadabad-Dholera region as the site for the development of the Dholera SIR, it would be situated at more than 90 kilometers from Ahmadabad and house the DFC.

The incumbent airport at Ahmadabad runs the risk of being exhausted within the next 5-6 years and has recorded a heavy inflow of traffic annually. Broadening the area of this airport has been deemed unsuitable and thus the development of a new one was inevitable. The state has requested the government to establish a Greenfield Airport at Dholera, owing to the massive potential of the site for generating foreign and domestic trade, courtesy the Dholera SIR project. The breakneck speed at which the economy is progressing in this region, having a modern airport only seems plausible.

The airport would be located within a consort of villages known as the Pachham-Valinda-Pipli of Taluka Dhandhuka District in Ahmadabad and acquired in the name of Gujarat Industrial Corridor Company Ltd (GICC). It is very close to both Ahmadabad and Dholera and is also near to major towns such as Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodara.

This project carries immense significance and is being carried out on a large scale. Land is being acquired and developed, passenger terminals, fire stations, cargo facilities, electric substations car parking’s and hangers are being constructed and runways and basic maintenance measures are being strengthened and consolidated.

There are however many ways by which the project can be executed. A PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model can be adopted. The government moreover can sign a concession contract with private players who would be selected through a clear bidding procedure. The central government however has to ensure that the process remains free from any kind of duress. Appropriate funds need to be allocated and tracked periodically. Adequate amount of land needs to be available and then acquired on which clearance from the environmental board should be arranged. Success of this project and the Dholera SIR on a whole will generate proceeds for the government in the form of charges applicable in aeronautical and non-aeronautical facilities.