The Andhra Pradesh government's plan for an international airport at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district is all set to become a reality as it has reportedly received the Union Civil Aviation Ministry’s nod at a meeting held in New Delhi on Monday.
"The project received in principle nod from the Union Government. We will receive a written order in a week," a senior official who made a power-point presentation on the benefits of the project to the Union Ministry told The Hindu.
The airport is not without its fair share of controversy, as many farmers in the area strongly oppose the project and enjoy the support of the Opposition - both YSRCP and the left parties.
It is estimated that 5,551 acres under the villages of Munjeru, Kancheru, Rawada, Ravivalasa, Gudepuvalasa, Kavulavada and Kongavanipalem will be acquired for the airport, out of which 1,418 acres is government land, including 845 acres of assigned land.
Many farmers protested against the land acquisition by the government, with many even obstructing the land survey, which has resulted in the survey team travelling with a police escort at all times.
While the CPI (M) has said that the project would ruin the lives of the locals, YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy has claimed that the airport could be constructed in a much smaller area with a lesser amount of land.
However, the ruling TDP has criticized the YSRCP chief, with Andhra Pradesh TDP president K Kala Venkata Rao alleging that the former owned illegal land in the area and saying "Mr. Jagan should clarify about the extent of lands he owns in Bhogapuram and surrounding areas in benami."
The government's focus is now on acquiring the remaining 3,400 acres required for the project., the report adds.