Work on revamping the airstrip at Abdullapuram near Vellore as a domestic terminal has speeded up to meet the deadline.
Though it was not known when the services to Chennai or Bengaluru would begin from here, the pace of work has raised expectations of industrialists, educationists, politicians and other dignitaries travelling on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway by road. The small airport came up in 1934 in about 46 hectares. There has been demands from various quarters, including industrialists, businessmen and public, to revamp the unused airport and start services to Chennai and Bengaluru. Subsequently, Airports Authority of India and other department officials concerned conducted an inspection of the airport in June 2017. Approval for the same was issued after the review by officials of AAI and district administration.
The construction of terminal building and laying of runways were under way in December 2018. The AAI has set up a mobile air traffic control tower, which is imported from Slovakia.
While this is the situation at Abdullapuram, the State Highways department is silent on handing over a small strip of land on Abdullapuram-Odukathur Road (less than a kilometre) which is part of the expansion project envisaged by AAI.
“We have been pursuing State Highway officials at Chennai in this regard and they have agreed to part with the land. The process is in the final stage and we are sure to get the land from them,” said AAI sources.
While several rounds of talks were held between two government agencies, the road is yet to be handed over to the AAI to develop a connecting path between the air bay and runway area.
State Highways department sources said they have put up papers after a formal sanction in 2018 and awaiting orders from top-level administrators in Chennai. “If they give a nod for land allotment, we would realign the road to connect places like Puthur, Karadikudi and Guurvarajapalayam apart from Anaicut town,” said an official.