The multi-runway airport, the first phase of which is expected to begin operations in 2024, will be the second airport to serve the national capital and its neighbourhood.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Jewar International Airport on Thursday, saying the project would bring “huge benefits” to crores of people in western Uttar Pradesh and the national capital region (NCR).
The multi-runway airport, the first phase of which is expected to begin operations in 2024, will be the second airport to serve the national capital and its neighbourhood. It will have the capacity to serve 12 million passengers every year after the completion of phase 1; this will be increased in subsequent phases depending on the growth of passenger traffic, reaching a capacity of 70 million passengers annually by the end of phase 4.
Once complete, the Noida International Airport (NIA), located 72 km from Delhi’s existing IGI Airport and 40 km each from Noida and the Dadri multi-modal logistics hub, will be the largest in Asia, officials said.
The Prime Minister pressed a button to symbolically lay the foundation stone, which was then revealed on a screen on the stage. A film was shown highlighting the project design and details.
“I want to congratulate everyone for the bhumi pujan. This region has been put on the international map. A huge benefit will come to crores of people in NCR and West UP. The new India of 21st century is working on cutting edge technology projects. These are not just infrastructure projects, they transform the region and the lives of people,” Modi said.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma, and Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh were among those present on the occasion.
“The Noida International Airport will be the logistical gateway. The speed at which the aviation sector is rising, Noida airport will play a major role in it… It will be important for repair and maintenance as well. There will be a 40-acre space for maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) services,” the PM said. “Nearly Rs 15,000 crore is spent on maintenance, and this revenue is gained by other countries. The airport will change this,” he said.
Modi said the airport was envisioned by a BJP government in UP two decades ago, but in the years that followed, the project was stalled “between Delhi and Lucknow”. The previous state government had written to the Centre asking for the project to be stopped, he claimed.
“People in this state have had to suffer jibes on account of caste politics, scams worth thousands of crores, bad roads, poverty, the lack of investments, stopped businesses, and the nexus between politics and criminals. People from UP would ask if the state could ever have a positive image. The state that was led to darkness and deprivation by previous governments is now leaving its mark globally,” Modi said.
“Earlier, projects would be announced as though sweets were being distributed. No thought was ever given to execution, problem-solving. The projects would be stuck for decades, and their cost would go up. But for us, these projects are not rajneeti but rashtraneeti,” he said.
Chief Minister Adityanath spoke of disruptions caused by “Jinnah’s supporters”, a reference to Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.
“There was a time when an effort was made to enhance the sweetness of sugarcane. But some people mixed the bitterness of riots in it. Will this country aid the sweetness of sugarcane, or will it aid riots through Jinnah supporters? To decide this question, I have come before you today,” he said.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the NIA project would bring an investment of nearly Rs 34,000 crore, and would overtake the Delhi airport when it became fully functional. “Runway par plane, patri par train, expressway par gaadi, this is the vision of PM Modi,” Scindia said.
At the main tent at the venue of the bhumi pujan in Rohi, cutouts of Modi were placed every few feet. Noida Police had released a traffic map on Wednesday marking out routes and dedicated parking spots.
“I am here to see the Prime Minister and Chief Minister. We are impressed with their vision and we are eager to listen to them. The region is changing rapidly because of their efforts,” said a woman who introduced herself as Chandralata from Jewar.
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