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KCCI team wants work on airport expedited

By Our Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE, NOV. 9. A delegation from the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), which met the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, on Saturday, has urged him to take immediate steps for the rehabilitation of 68 families in the Bajpe Airport area and initiate the expansion of the airport.

The delegation led by Vijaya Kumar Shetty, former MLA, and A. Srinivasa Rao, president, KCCI, apprised the Chief Minister of the need to acquire 140 acres to make it a full-fledged airport. Mr. Rao told The Hindu that airport authorities could go ahead with the expansion if the Government took steps to rehabilitate the families.

Memorandum

The delegation submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister drawing his attention to developmental works in Dakshina Kannada, including the release of the Government's share for the gauge conversion between Sakaleshpur and Puttur on the Hassan-Mangalore railway line, identification of land for setting up a Special Economic Zone, and creating infrastructure for the promotion of tourism.

The announcement by major information technology (IT) companies evincing interest in opening business process outsourcing (BPO) units in Mangalore has necessitated the completion of both projects.

Wipro, Mphasis, and First Indian Corporation, subsidiary of First American Corporation, have expressed interest in exploiting the potential for BPOs in the coastal belt.

The absence of night-landing facility at the airport and the absence of evening flights from here had caused problems for the business community. According to Mr. Rao, the Chief Minister had assured the delegation that the Government would take steps to complete the railway line by March 2005.

Once gauge conversion is completed it will pave the way for transportation of agricultural produce and mineral resources to the New Mangalore Port via Bangalore or Arsikere.

According to the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) authorities, once the gauge conversion work is completed, the port is likely to get at least an additional two million tonnes of cargo each year.

The railway line would also help transport iron and manganese ore to the port from Hospet and Bellary.

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