The West Bengal government will, under the new Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) announced by the Union aviation ministry, seek to develop two new airports, at Malda and Coochbehar. These will be under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. “We will soon be letting the Centre know about our intention. Land acquisition will not be a problem,” Suvendu Adhikari, Transport Minister told. A clause in the RCS document requires a state to provide land free of cost and free from all encumbrances, besides ensuring multi-modal hinterland connectivity. Which the state is confident of ensuring.
If Bengal gets the Centre’s nod to proceed, Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be shared between the central ministry and state government in 80:20 ratio. Andal airport in the vicinity of Durgapur, said Adhikari, would not come under RCS, as it “has already been built and is operational”. Explaining: “The RCS scheme is for airports which do not have scheduled operations. Andal already has a flight schedule, though it has been impacted temporarily.”