Thursday, October 04, 2007

Air cargo complex to come up at Patna airport soon

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) for setting up a cargo complex at the Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport in Patna. A joint venture company would be floated which will undertake the development work of the complex. Both AAI and the
state government representatives would be members of the joint venture.

According to the AAI Patna director Atul Dikshit the immediate aim of developing the cargo complex was to provide better opportunity to the agricultural producers. Perishable items like fruits and vegetables cannot be sent to far off markets due to lack of fast mode of transportation. Now the cargo complex would help in overcoming this constraint as producers of such items would have an option to send
their produce to far-flung places using the air connectivity.

It needs to be mentioned that about six years back the then Union minister, (now late) Ramakrishna Hegde, made a similar announcement in this regard. The railways too decided to attach a refrigerated coach in Jan Sadharan Express to Delhi after Lalu Yadav took over as the railway minister in 2004. The purpose was to transport vegetables and fruits to Delhi. Bihar, it needs to be mentioned, comes in the list of first five top producer of vegetables and fruits in the country.

The proposed cargo complex at the airport, according to Dikshit, would have, apart from a cold storage to be used for storing perishable items, would also have modern facilities of handling the goods meant for shipment.

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