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    WB govt. proposes to build air cargo hub near Kolkata

    New Delhi (PTI): The West Bengal government on Friday proposed to build an air cargo hub near Kolkata and announced plans to expand the existing airport in the eastern metropolis.

    "We plan to construct an air cargo hub within a 40-60 km radius of Kolkata and its airport," the state's Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty announced at the National Civil Aviation Conference here.

    Referring to problems regarding land acquisition costs being faced by state governments, he suggested that the Centre and the state governments should share equally the land costs, which were rising exorbitantly.

    He urged the Planning Commission to look into the matter and take a decision to accelerate aviation infrastructure development activities across the country.

    Extending full cooperation of the Left Front government to the Centre in modernising Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, he said the new airport at Coochbehar, in which the state government and the Centre had spent a total of Rs 30 crore, was "ready for inauguration".

    Regarding a proposed airport at Malda, Chakraborty said about 150 acre of land would be required for the purpose and sought central assistance in this regard.

    He said the modernisation work of the Kolkata airport was going on full swing.

    On land acquisition for construction of airports, Maharashtra's Secretary (Special Projects) Sanjay Ubale highlighted a unique initiative undertaken by farmers in the state who were in talks with each other and with the aviation authorities to "pool in" their land for the purpose.



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