The Karnataka cabinet on Monday cleared Rs 193.65 crore funding support to the greenfield domestic passenger airport project at Hassan.
Delayed more than six decades after being first conceived in 1967, the project got its present shape only in 1996 when H.D. Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister.
However, it was in 2007, the foundation stone for the airport was laid by Gowda at Boovanahalli on the outskirts of Hassan, when the JD-S-BJP coalition was in power, but it had not progressed.
However, Gowda, for whom Hassan is a pocket borough, had made an emotional appeal to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, earlier this year, saying that all he wanted was to see a functional airport in Hassan before he died.
Subsequently, Yediyurappa announced an allocation of Rs 175 crore during his budget speech.
After the cabinet meeting On Monday, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that the cabinet had cleared the funding for infrastructure such as the runway, passenger terminal, and technical structure. “The project cost Rs 196.35 crore, will be released in two packages," he said.
Though Hassan is well connected through highway and rail network, and is also close to a major seaport (Mangaluru), an airport was the only infrastructure it lacked.
Besides this, the Karnataka cabinet also decided to amend the law as well as other regulations to expedite issuing of transferable development rights (TDR) certificates to landowners who have surrendered their plots for state’s public projects like Metro or ring road.
“Under the existing system, the agency implementing the project after acquiring the plot and deciding on the TDR share, would forward the same to the BDA. The planning authorities at BDA would do a survey again before issuing the TDR. This led to a delay of minimum four to five years and led to harassment to people who had surrendered their plot. Therefore, we decided to do away with multi-agency surveying for the same plot," Bommai said.
He also conceded that surveying the same plot twice on occasions, had led to unnecessary delays and even interested people approaching BDA officials for a favourable share.
“Therefore sticking to just a single survey report would end a lot of such confusion as well as trouble to people," Bommai contended.
The minister added that the cabinet also decided to constitute a sub-committee to draft the Karnataka State Water Policy.
The state also approved the implementation of World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) phase 2 and 3 in respect of 58 dams (World Bank loan 70 per cent and state share 30 per cent) at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore.
The minister said that the cabinet also accorded approval to take up three lift irrigation projects worth Rs 1,252 crore cleared by Nabard.
“The Rs 415 crore project is related to filling up 94 tanks in Honnali taluk in Davangere district by lifting water from Tungabhadra. Rs 670 crore is for filling up 74 tanks in Kudligi in Bellary district by lifting water from Tungabhadra and Rs 167 crore for augmentation of tanks under Sasvehalli lift irrigation scheme near Honnali taluk in Davangere in two stages," he said.
Bommai said that the cabinet has also approved The Karnataka Contingency Fund (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 which will enable the state to enhance the contingency fund for Covid and other related expenditures from Rs 500 crore to Rs 2,500 crore.
It also gave its administrative approval for construction of new buildings for 100 police stations at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore.
Other cabinet decisions include enhancing reservation for children of farmers and agriculture labourers in admission to Diploma in Agriculture, BSc agriculture and equivalent degree from existing 40 to 50 per cent and administrative approval for construction of building for Rani Chennamma University at Hirebagewadi village in Belagavi at an estimated cost of Rs 110 crore.