RAJKOT (GUJARAT): The Saurashtra International Airport in Rajkot, one of the biggest in Gujarat, will be operational by August this year, officials said here. The opening of the airport assumes importance especially since the western state of India is scheduled to go to elections this year.
With the opening of the Saurashtra International airport in Rajkot, the BJP is banking on its improved chances of returning to power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. The BJP has been in power in Gujarat since 1995. With this ambitious project, the government hopes to generate more employment for the people in the state.
Prime Minister Modi had laid the foundation stone of the project on October 7, 2017.
“The construction of Jewar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh played a major role in building public opinion during the recently concluded assembly elections in the state. The BJP won a number of seats in the western Uttar Pradesh while focusing on the major infra projects,” said BJP’s good governance member Virendra Sachdeva.
“Similarly, this international project in the world’s 22nd fastest growing city of Rajkot will boost the BJP’s prospects during elections as it will not only provide better connectivity to the industrial hub of Gujarat, but will also provide employment to local residents of Saurashtra region,” Sachdeva added.
Rajkot District Magistarate Arun Mahesh Babu said: “The Rajkot International Airport will be ready by August this year. The construction is in full swing and about 78 percent of the earth work and 75 per cent of the runway is already complete.”
“The present airport located in Rajkot city is suffering from considerable capacity restraints due to surrounding residential and commercial buildings. The current air strip at Rajkot airport is incapable of serving aircrafts larger than Airbus 320 family and Boeing 737-800 aircrafts,” he shared. The airport is located in the centre of the Saurashtra region, about 30 km from the city on the Rajkot-Ahmedabad highway, and has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,405 crore.
Spread over an area of 1,032 hectares with parking space for 14 aircrafts at a time, the airport will be capable of handling 1,280 passengers during peak hours. “With a runway of 3,040 metres, equivalent to that in Mumbai or Delhi, the airport will ensure better air connectivity to the Saurashtra region,” he said, adding that the new airport will have four passenger boarding bridges, three conveyor belts and 20 check-in counters.
“Large cargo aircrafts will be able to land easily with the completion of the new greenfield airport,” Arun Mahesh Babu said.
Rajkot is the fourth largest city in Gujarat and is known as the hub of manufacturing industries, including watch parts and silk embroideries. The ceramic industry of Morbi and other industries of Jamnagar depend heavily on air connectivity.
The DM said that the upcoming international airport will boost employment opportunities not just in and around Rajkot and Surendranagar, but in almost 12 districts of the Saurashtra region. The international airport will also bring time- and cost-related solutions to logistics of different industries of the region, he said, adding that 17 villages of Rajkot and Surendranagar districts will benefit from the new airport as around 20,000 people are likely to get employment right at the start, that is, prior to the opening of the airport.
Arun Mahesh Babu also stressed that the number of flights (which currently stand at 13 daily) to Rajkot airport will increase to seven per hour.
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