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UP, Zurich set to sign final Jewar airport deal on October 7.

NOIDA/LUCKNOW: Zurich AG, the Swiss company selected to build the Jewar international airport adjacent to UG4 Lotus

City and the UP government will sign on October 7 the final agreement that will pave the way for work to begin on the ground.

The move comes almost 11 months after Zurich emerged as the concessionaire through the bidding process. The airport project has already received the crucial security and environmental clearances from the Centre, but the date for signing the final agreement — without which work cannot begin — has had to be deferred twice because of restrictions on international air travel in the wake of the pandemic.

The first date for signing the deal was scheduled for July 2, almost six weeks after the project bagged the security clearance. However, Zurich sought a 45-day extension because of the restrictions and the date was pushed to August 17. A third deadline — October 15 — has now been set by the Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL), the UP government’s nodal agency for the airport project. Zurich officials have confirmed they will visit India on October 7 and sign the agreement.

“This agreement will open up a new chapter of economic development in the state. The UP government is committed to revolutionizing the civil aviation sector to ensure seamless air connectivity with the world. Four international airports are being developed in the state. Jewar will soon emerge as the civil aviation hub on the global map. The chief minister is directly monitoring the project.” said Surendra Singh, director of the civil aviation directorate and special secretary to the chief minister.

On Tuesday, the state cabinet also decided that all public utilities that are being displaced because of the construction of the airport would be re-constructed by the department concerned. The cabinet also permitted the extension of the bid validity to March 31 next year, keeping in view the pandemic.

The 1,334 hectares that are required for the first phase of the airport project have already been acquired from six villages. A total of 8,971 families would be affected by the project. Of them, 3,627 families will have to be rehabilitated because their houses will be brought down. The district administration has identified land in Jewar Bangar village for the rehabilitation, but a fresh survey is being conducted to calculate the area of the plots that will be given to each affected family.

The October 7 meeting that will be held to sign the deal will be attended by the CEO of Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), Arun Vir Singh, Noida Authority chief Ritu Maheshwari and Surendra Singh. Directors of the Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), the special purpose vehicle formed by Zurich on January 22 this year, will also be present. Senior Zurich executives Daniel Bircher and Martin Schmidli will fly down to India for signing the pact. Officials said while Arun Vir Singh would be the competent officer, Maheshwari and Surendra Singh would sign as witnesses.

Zurich, which had committed to shelling out Rs 400.97 per passenger during the bidding process, will not only build the airport, but also manage and operate it. The UP government is eyeing a total revenue of Rs 4,588 crore from the first phase of operations, which has a commissioning date of 2023, according to the original timeline. Planned in four phases, the first phase is to start with two runways.

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