Valsa Ramannair Singh

Interview

October 31, 2017

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Valsa Ramannair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Civil Aviation MADC

Valsa Ramannair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Civil Aviation MADC

Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC) has a number of projects, schemes and initiatives under its wing. MADC is taking consistent and substantial steps to improve connectivity in Maharashtra, establish a booming economy and set India up as the aero manufacturing hub in Asia.

MADC was constituted in the year 2002. What are the major highlights of MADC during last 15 years?

Our Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project and Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) are the major highlights.

MADC developed a flagship project called MIHAN in 4,062 hectares at Nagpur, which is one-of-a-kind as it comprises of a functional international airport and an adjacent industrial area. This unique feature is so far only available at three to four places across India. Easy connectivity to the air strip is the basic requirement of any set up for aviation product industry.

The industrial area of 2,249.41 hectares comprises of a functional Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and outside SEZ. MADC has developed a state-of-the-art infrastructure, including a dedicated power plant. An area of 440 hectares is earmarked for the aviation sector and similar for food, IT and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The other highlight is the contribution of MADC in Rural Connectivity Scheme (RCS). Under this scheme the development of nine airports within the state is underway. The rural connectivity by joining ‘B’ Class cities will be a catalyst for overall growth and business enhancement. MADC is one of the very few Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) developing and operating an airport. The international standards and carbon footprint is being considered while minimising the cost of the setup.

MADC’s objective is to develop Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur. How do you see its growth during coming years?

The ‘Make in India’ initiative and focus on creating an environment for ‘ease of doing business’ is being facilitated by MADC by way of creating world class infrastructure and inviting global investors for setting up processing units in the field of Aviation, Health, IT and Food sectors in Nagpur. World leaders like Dassault (in JV with Reliance ADAG), Indo UK Health Care have already started establishing their set-ups.

The concept of MIHAN (a Hub) can be integrated multi-fold to optimise its socio-commercial advantages. Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) is establishing a container warehouse that will be connected to Jawaharlal Nehru Port by rail. A dry port in Wardha is coming up to address the conjunction at the port and enhance economic feasibility. MADC has taken an initiative of developing an ecosystem by involving all the socio-commercial stakeholders and will act as a coordinator for organised and seamless communication to benefit everyone, which will help in the overall growth of the region.

Development of cold storage facilities, speedy clearances of customs, world class residential and recreation centres, etc., are some of the other initiatives of MADC.

It is envisaged that in another two years the face of MIHAN will drastically change and it will greatly support overall growth of the state.

Could you give us details of MADC’s involvement as a catalyst in building other airport projects across the state of Maharashtra?

MADC is working on development of nine airports across Maharashtra. Amravati, Chandrapur and Pune are in process of development while Shirdi International Airport has become operational from October 1, 2017.

How do you visualise the growth of the aviation sector in the state given the huge potential of the Indian aviation sector?

The RCS scheme will greatly support socio-economic development of Maharashtra. The aviation sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in India. With Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), it gets a boost enabling it to break the price barrier as well. As we open the new routes of UDAN, the extrapolating effect on the hinterland and its economy will be massive. The concept of aero cities around airports will boost real estate and the hospitality industry as well.

Since the aviation sector is all set to boom ,what should be the way forward in building airports and airport infrastructure in India? Should it be the domain of the centre and state governments or be developed in PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP) mode?

The way forward is clear in the new Civil Aviation Policy. Both centre and states are coming together to build airports and assist each other. The PPP method in infrastructure sector has been established well. We are also looking at methods like land pooling instead of land acquisition.

Centre had recently given approval for construction of USD 1 billion Reliance Infra’s Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park in Nagpur for which the MADC is the nodal agency. Can we get the details of foreign investment and employment generation of this aerospace project?

MADC has allocated 104 acres of land to M/s Reliance Aerospace Ltd, who has got the status of co-developer. The proposed set up will be a Final Assembly Layout (FAL) for Business Jet Aircraft. It is envisaged that, direct and indirect employment of approximately 10,000 individuals (primary, secondary and tertiary local markets) will be generated over a period of time.

An aerospace project needs lots of precision components and highly skilled manpower, so the ancillaries and the indirect employment are multi-fold. So this project will substantially boost the regional economy.

Does this aerospace park pave way for establishing India as a major aero manufacturing hub in Asia?

Yes. The project being set up in SEZ will be encouraged to export the final product and its components. Some other international manufacturers are also in pipeline and it is estimated that such setups will establish India as major aero manufacturing hub in Asia.

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