Skip to main content

Shivamogga Airport: A much Delayed, Derailed Project has a Safe Landing

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Shivamogga airport named as Kuvempu Airport at Sogane village, about 8.8 kilometres from Shivamogga district headquarters on Monday 27 February. The event marked an end to the prolonged, derailed and much-awaited ambitious dream come true. In a way, the commissioning of Kuvempu airport has paved way for a mega aerial entrance to the Malnad region comprising the picturesque Shivamogga, Chikkamagalur, and parts of Hassan and Davanagere districts.

BSY’s political will enables the dream to come true: BS Yediyurappa, former chief minister for four different tenures can be attributed as the sole solid factor for enabling the decades-old dream come project to come true. In fact, preparations for the airport began way behind in 2006 leading to a PPP agreement, cancellation of the same, fresh retender, and formation of a new state company and ultimately completion of the project. At last, the Rs 450 crores project spread into an area of 662.38 acres saw the light of day.

A boon to Malnad region districts: Kuvempu airport is bound to be a game changer to the beneficiaries of neighbouring districts as they were compelled to go to either Mangaluru or Bengaluru travelling more than six hours for air connectivity. The Malnad districts are also a bastion for Areca nut, Cardamom, Coffee, Coconut, Pepper and other such commercial crops. It also goes without saying that the new airport will also augment in multiple ways in enhancing the opportunities for trade and commerce along with generating employment opportunities.

Identification sets in the Project: It was on 04 April 2006 a team of experts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) visited the two identified sites. Sogane near Nagarbavi village and about 8.8 kilometres from Shivamogga and Ayanur village nearly 8.2 kilometres from Bhadravathi were these two sites. However, the experts favoured Sogane as the most preferred one due to its wind directions and velocity conditions. But, the concern was that the land was uneven and had to be levelled to the requirements. On the other hand, the site near Ayanur turned out to be inadequate in terms of width for a runaway.

19 companies evince interest: BS Yediyurappa as chief minister laid the foundation stone on 20 June 2008 for Phase I construction. 19 companies evinced interest and came forward for developing the airport in response to the Expression of Interest (EoI) notified by the state government to develop Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Shivamogga airports. The project was awarded to a consortium led by Maytas Infra Ltd, NCC Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (NCC), and VIE India Project Development and Holdings on 15 November 2007 on a BOT basis. Then, according to the agreement the concession period was for 30 years with a clause of a further period of 30 years by a mutual agreement.

SDAPL comes to exist: Shivamogga Airport Developers Private Limited (SDAPL), a special purpose company was established to sign the Project Development (PDA) with the Infrastructure Development Department (IDD) of the Government of Karnataka. The shareholding pattern of Maytas Infra, NCC and VIE was 37%, 37% and 26% respectively in SDAPL and the project development agreement was signed on 21 December 2008.

Change in the shareholding ratio: Interestingly, due to a change in the project shareholding, another supplementary development agreement was signed on 21 December 2010. Regional Airport-Holdings International Limited (RAHI), a Bengaluru-based company acquired 22% of the project, overall management and financial control.

Land allotment annulled to Retender: However, in January 2015, the government decided to annul the land allotment for the airport on grounds like “indifference and infighting” among the promoters. Thanks to such a callous attitude no construction work had begun at the Shivamogga airport, compelling the government to re-tender the project.

Relaunch of over pending project: BS Yediyurapa again as chief minister, relaunched the delayed project on 15 June 2020. Following the cancellation of the PPP agreement due to delays in execution, tardy progress and termination the onus again fell on the shoulders of the state government to complete the project.

Rs 58.3 million released: The state government acquired 662.38 acres of land for the project while Rs 58.3 million was released for acquisition and development. The government paid compensation of Rs Six lakhs per acre for dry land and Rs Seven lakhs per acre for wetland farmers and Rs Two lakhs for peasants tilling government lands. About 130 acres of private land and 530 acres of government land were required for the project. Affected families hitherto living in the project area were provided compensation and alternate housing. The Land Lease Deed signed on 21 December 2010 commits the lessee to pay a rent of Rs 20,232 per acre annually to the Government of Karnataka and the total amounts to Rs 13.4 million. Also, the lease rent will increase by 10% every three years during the lease period.

Set for landing international flights: Kuvempu airport has the longest runway of 3,200 meters after Kempegowda International Airport Limited (KIAL), Bengaluru and it goes without saying that it would soon be an international airport. The airport boasts of facilities to operate Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 type aircraft and can handle 300 peak-hour passengers. Although the airport was expected to be completed by 2022, it was inaugurated on 27 February 2023.

A real big challenge: Gaurav Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary and Secretary, Infrastructure Development Department (IDD), Government of Karnataka and the catalyst behind the proud project is a happy man today. A sense of contentment hints when he rejoices-“Shivamogga airport project was a real big bottleneck as the structure itself was an engineering challenge and puzzle as never before the such structure was envisaged. The bigger challenge was about a state government ensuring it and the hurdles included getting a license for proceeding ahead”.

Kudos to PWD: Ramarao Manjunath Chavan, Aeronautical Engineer and documentary filmmaker opine-“Shivamogga airport is a testimony of the age-old proverb, where there is a will there is a way. Shariff, a local contractor undertook the hazardous task of completing the civil works and the beauty was when there was a lull of activities across the country during the two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, airport work went on uninterruptedly and incessantly. The Public Works Department initiating and executing the project by itself is a great laurel to the Department”.

-Manohar Yadavatti


Popular posts from this blog

Omicron; Booster dose, Precautions need of the hour: Dr Angelique Coetzee

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) and General Practitioner for 33 years has warned the world community against unnecessary panicking over the spread of Omicron mutant variant of Covid-19. She has called upon the affected nations to lay emphasis on adhering to Covid-19 guidelines rather than enforcing restrictions to combat the pandemic menace. In a telephonic interview, Dr Angelique Coetzee cautioned governments against announcing a series of curbs over the movement of people. Instead, they should not close the country borders, make elaborate arrangements to increase testing’s, wear masks, keep sanitizing, maintain hygiene, social distancing and get vaccinated, booster dose, she stressed. First Physician to spot the SARS-Cov-2 Omicron variant: Now it’s a well-known fact that Dr Angelique Coetzee was the first physician to spot the SARS-Cov-2 Omicron variant of Covid-19. She is the chairperson of the South African medical association (SAM

Gurunath Mujumdar sets in to make a mark in Hindusthani Music

Gurunath Gundopant Mujumdar is a well-known name among music lovers of Surat and more so in the state of Gujarat. Although his surname looks like a typical Gujarati one, he is more so by domicile. In fact, he is a native of Badami, hitherto the capital of the Chalukyan Empire now in the present Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Mr Gurunath Gundopant Mujumdar For more than two decades in Gujarat: He is presently associated with the Engineering MNC Schneider Electric India Private Limited as Deputy General Manager (Business Development) for the South Gujarat region. Earlier he served another giant engineering company. ABB Ltd. A Diploma holder in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Karnataka, he is in Gujarat for more than two decades since he migrated to Surat in 2002. Into music from the age of Five: Gurunath Mujumdar’s inception into music began at the tender age when he was just five years old. His musical journey began with singing devotional songs. Interestingly, his int

Dharwad and Mother Earth Continue to Weep

Dharwad town in the state of Karnataka, hitherto renowned as a Pensioners paradise looks to have lost the popular tag over a period of time. All old timers’ who had the privilege of being born, did the schooling and left it forever in search of green pastures are bound to be dejected, sad and perplexed at the way the now bustling city has transformed itself into. No traces of the villages now: In fact, the town Dharwad came into being with the clubbing of 13 villages like Saidapur, Gulaganji Koppa, Malapur, Kamalapur, Haveripet, Hebballi Agasi, Hosayellapur, Madarmaddi, Malamaddi, Saptapur, Sadhanakeri among others. These localities remained isolated from one another during the early seventies. But now, you hardly find any gap between them with unhindered growth in all possible directions. Prof traces rural instincts: Dr BH Rajoor, Head of the Department, Department of Economics at Karnataka University Dharwad in spite of having settled down here had not ventured into the typical old