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SINGAPORE’s Changi Airport International Pte has picked up a 26% stake in Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), which is setting up a Rs 10,000-crore airport city in Durgapur. The stake has been picked up by Changi Airport India Pte Limited, the 100% subsidiary of Changi Airport International.

Confirming the development, Subrata Gupta, managing director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, said: “Changi has picked up a 26% stake in BAPL and will be closely involved in the project,” The other four stakeholders of BAPL, which together hold 74% stake in the company, are Pragati Social Infrastructure, Pragati 47, Lend Lease Ltd and City Star Ltd.

A senior official of BAPL said a formal announcement on Changi’s exposure in the project and the equity size of BAPL would be made at an appropriate time. Changi Airport will play a crucial role in BAPL’s airport city project. It will act as the technical collaborator for the project, impart staff training and operate the airport for the first year, which will include route development. The airport city project has received in-principle approval from ministry of civil aviation.

Changi Airport is also trying to woo another firm from Singapore, Jurong International, for setting up the industrial park, which is an integral part of BAPL’s airport city project. BAPL’s initial investment in the airport city project is in the range of Rs 2,000-2,500 crore.

The first phase of the project will require some 2,363 acres and will house an airport, IT Park, logistics hub, township and theme park. “The airport and a few other facilities will be built by BAPL itself. But, for some of the other facilities, it will invite partners and develop them on a joint venture basis. It is a seven-year project and will be implemented in phases. The total investment will be Rs 10,000 crore,” said a senior state government official.

Incidentally, WBIDC has issued a land acquisition notice under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for the airport city project at Durgapur. WBIDC had said that anybody who objects to land acquisition for the project should submit an application within the period December 12-20 of 2008.

On December 22, Eastern Coalfields Limited had raised an objection and said that land in mouza Dakshinkhanda, Ukhra is within the Tamla coal block area, for which ECL holds an underground mining lease for extraction of coal. ECL, in its objection submitted to the land acquisition collector of Burdwan, says: “It may be understood that in case of extraction of coal from different coal seams beneath such surface area may obviously affect the safety of the surface structures proposed to be constructed above these areas.”

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