Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Vadodara on Saturday to inaugurate the international terminal at Harni airport. He will also attend a programme to distribute artificial limbs and other implements to more than 8000 ‘Divyangs’ (disabled persons) in the city.
It will be Modi’s first visit to Vadodara after becoming PM in May 2014. In last Lok Sabha elections, Modi got elected from both Vadodara and Varanasi seats, but he retained latter. “After arriving in Vadodara tomorrow afternoon, the PM will first inaugurate the newly-built international terminal at the city airport and then he will attend Divyang camp at Navlakhi ground,” said an official of Gujarat Information Department. The state-of-the-art terminal, built at the cost of Rs 160 crore, is spread over 18,120 sq mt and can handle 700 passengers (domestic plus international) per hour. It will have 18 check-in counters. The airport is located in Harni area on the outskirts of Vadodara.
After the function, Modi will head to Navlakhi ground, where artificial limbs, tri-cycles and other assistive devices will be distributed to over 8000 ‘Divyangs’. The event has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kanpur-based Artificial Limb Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), and Vadodara district administration, stated a government release. This will be Modi’s fourth visit in last three months to his home state, where Assembly elections are due next year.
On his 66th birthday on September 17, Modi had inaugurated various irrigation and drinking water projects in the tribal district of Dahod. He had attended a Divyang camp at Navsari in south Gujarat. In August, he had visited Gujarat twice – once to condole death of Pramukh Swami Maharaj at Botad district and then to inaugurate the ambitious Sauni Irrigation Scheme in Jamnagar district.
Harni is only the second “green building” airport in country.
Airport Authority of India (AAI) chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told PTI in Vadodara today that new terminal will enhance the combined passenger handling capacity of airport by almost four-fold. It took more than seven years for completing the new international terminal building project, foundation stone for which was laid in February 2009 by then Civil Aviation Minister.
“At present, flights to Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Bengaluru are operated at this airport by Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Connect, Indigo and Etihad Airways,” Airport Director Sono Marandi said, adding that international flights can be launched after receiving requisite proposals from carriers. “We cannot fly directly to far away countries like UK, US, Canada etc. owing to runway constraints. However, (operating) flights to closer foreign destinations like Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok etc. is possible,” he said.
Marandi said that length of the existing runway is only 8100 feet and it has not been extended despite the construction of new international terminal, due to unavailability of land. “It is not large enough to facilitate landing of big aircraft like Boeing 744 which are used for long-distance international flights. Currently, the airport can handle medium-range flier aircraft like Airbus-320 and Boeing-737 etc,” he added.
Project in-charge Narendra Kumar Shukla said that handling of passengers will become much easier now and that boarding will become smoother for flyers.”The new terminal is designed in such a flexible way that its use for domestic and international operations can be varied as per needs,” he added.