Aviation

Vellore raises demand for airport

Vellore residents the area needs an airport

VELLORE:  An airport continues to be a dream for many in Vellore district. Home to institutions such as VIT University, Christian Medical College (CMC), and a prime leather industrial belt, Vellore has been lacking an airport.

This could facilitate easy and faster connectivity, many residents said, reports The Hindu.

“An airport is definitely necessary for Vellore. A few years ago, the city was declared by the World Bank as a fast growing city in India. It has also been selected as one of the 100 cities in the Smart City project. These reasons add to the need for an airport,” Sunil Chandy, CMC director, said.

He added that there is a huge floating population in Vellore. “If an air service is available, at least 50 to 80 patients coming to CMC will use it in a day. A lot of people from Cochin and Hyderabad come here. Our staff, leather businessmen, and students will be benefitted. People prefer to travel by air, rather by road ,” he said.

He suggested that the Civil Aviation Ministry could upgrade the airstrip at Abdullapuram into an airport.

“There is a potential for business if three places are directly connected from Vellore – Chennai, Bengaluru and Tirupati – by air. Flights to Puducherry could also be operated. There is a huge need from the commercial and business point of view. It will save a lot of time,” he pointed out.

He wondered why the government has not yet identified Vellore as a potential destination for establishing an airport.

As G. Viswanathan, VIT Chancellor, describes, “It has been a long time dream to hve a regular airport in Vellore.”

“We had met the secretary of Civil Aviation Ministry sometime ago. The ministry asked us to approach the State government and obtain land for establishing the airport,” he added. There is a helipad at the university.

Keen on working out a quicker solution, the university has approached Pawan Hans, a helicopter company that is a Government of India enterprise, recently.

“During the floods in Chennai last year, people had to go to other airports. Vellore could be an alternative place and a facility must be developed,” he added.

M. Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman of Council for Leather Exports, is of the view that establishing an airport would definitely boost the leather sectors in Vellore.

“We can certainly have passenger and cargo services, and it will be of great use for the leather sector. People coming to Ambur and Ranipet on business visits can utilise the air service,” he said.

However, an official of the Airports Authority of India, Chennai said that there were no plans as of now to establish an airport in Vellore.

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