Kolkata, Jan 21 (IANS): Considering the huge pressure on the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here, the West Bengal government is looking for land to develop a new airport in or around Kolkata.
The state secretariat has already asked the district administration to look for land so that an airport larger than the present one in Dum Dum can be developed.
Spread over an area of 1,641 acres, the Kolkata airport is the largest hub for air traffic in the eastern part of the country and one of two international airports operating in West Bengal, the other being Bagdogra.
The airport handled almost 20 million passengers in the financial year 2017-18, making it the fifth-busiest airport in India in terms of passenger traffic after Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
The airport is a major centre for flights to Northeast India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Southeast Asia and Middle Eastern cities. In 2014 and 2015, the Kolkata airport won the title of Best Improved Airport in the Asia-Pacific region awarded by the Airport Council International.
It was awarded the best airport by hygiene measures in Asia-Pacific in 2020 by the Airports Council International.
"There is huge pressure on Kolkata airport, so we are trying to develop another airport close to the city that will work as a second terminal to the Kolkata airport. This will help reduce pressure and also enable the state to accommodate more domestic and international flights. This will also help develop the city into a major business destination of eastern India," sources in the state secretariat said.
The sources also indicated that Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi has already asked the district administrations to look for land in and around Kolkata.
"The state government has also made it clear that the land should be big enough so that it can have a 3-km runway to accommodate larger planes like Boeing 777. The indications are clear that the state is keen to develop an airport which will be big enough with facilities equal to the present airport.
"There is a possibility of getting land at Bangor in South 24 Parganas and the district administration has been asked to look into the details of the same," a senior official said.
The state administration in its specifications has made it clear that it is keen to develop large hangars so that many planes can be accommodated.
A Trinamool Congress mouthpiece also said that the state government is keen to develop another airport at Chharra in Purulia. This will enable the state to increase connectivity with the eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The Bengal government is also keen to open all closed airports in the state and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a recent administrative meeting had asked Dwivedi to look into the matter.
Accordingly, the state government is trying to make the airports at Cooch Behar, Malda and Balurghat in North Bengal operational. The state is also trying to upgrade the Andal airport soon.