58 years-old, Ashim Barman still reminisces the days of the early 90s when he shifted to his flat in Salt Lake â€” perhaps the oldest of its kind in the area beside acres and acres of vacant land. As land prices soared along the VIP Road, which connected Kolkata to its lone airport, the real estate picture of the area transformed dramatically. Today, Dum Dum and the area surrounding the airport are some of the top investment magnets in the city.
Airports play a vital role in transforming a region’s economic landscape. Mega infrastructure projects like airports not only uplift the connectivity of a region, they also boost industrial and economic activities, which lead to large-scale job creation. This, in turn, promotes real estate developments that facilitate the basic amenities to make a region livable.
The proposed airport project at Navi Mumbai is a classic example of this. The project has sparked an interest among homebuyers and investors regarding properties in the vicinity. In fact, 16-17% of property registrations have been reportedly done after the project was finalized.
The Government of Indiaâ€™s UDAN Scheme
The recently launched Regional Air Connectivity Scheme â€˜UDANâ€™, has secured approvals for 18 new airports from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The scheme intends to expedite connectivity through infrastructure developments in places like Sindhudurg, Shirdi, and Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, Pakyong in Sikkim, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hasan, and Shimoga in Karnataka, Karaikal in Puducherry, Bhogapuram in Andhra Pradesh, Kannur in Kerala, Dholera in Gujarat, Mopa in Goa, and several other regional hotspots.
According to market analysts, these upcoming airport projects are breathing fresh positivity and optimism into the real estate sector. Analysts and industry experts believe that the governmentâ€™s UDAN Scheme will heighten the importance of Tier-II and Tier-III cities, which will eventually expand the economic and real estate prospect of these smaller centres.
Bengalâ€™s Integration Into the UDAN Map
The first phase of UDAN flights would connect Kolkata to Northeastern regions, such as Aizawl, Dimapur, Agartala, and Shillong. According to proposed plans, many regional airports in Bengal will be covered in the second phase thatâ€™s scheduled around mid-2018. The Regional Air Connectivity program is particularly important for Bengal, as the UDAN scheme will put Bengalâ€™s regional airports like Cooch Behar â€” which lied unused for a long time â€” on the aviation map.
Besides, the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and the Airports Authority have inked an agreement to upgrade three existing airfields in Eastern Indiaâ€™s steel townships â€” one of which is Burnpur, near Asansol.
Once these airport projects kickstart, itâ€™s likely to draw the attention of domestic and international companies. We can predict that suchÂ growth in the aviation sector â€” when they take place â€”Â will play a vital role in bolstering real estate activities in the state in years to come.
Further Developments Around Kolkata
Kalyani, situated nearly 50 kms from Kolkata, is on the radar of the State Government of West Bengal and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a new airport project that will offload the pressure of Kolkataâ€™s main terminal.
Kalyani is an industrial estate and a planned city that houses premier institutes like the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG). A proposed AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) facility is also coming up in the area very soon.
The news of a second airport close to the Eastern Metropolis is also triggering significant interest from companies and real estate investors. Since Kalyani has a dedicated industrial zone, there are speculations that the new airport project might also have a cargo handling centre. This is spiking the demand for commercial spaces in the region.
If all goes well, the 1500-acre airport in Nadia district of Bengal is expected to reinstate Kalyaniâ€™s lost reputation as an industrial hub through improved air connectivity.
The Government’s Upcoming Plans for Bolstering the Aviation Sector
The Civil Aviation Ministry recently revealed the government’s plans to build 100 airports in the next 15 years at an estimated cost of Rs. 4 lac crores. Among 100, 70 airports will be at new locations while the rest 30 will be second airports. Some existing airfield installations will be also upgraded to handle an increased number of commercial flights.
Construction of new airports will not onlyÂ help the aviation sector but also enhance the image of Tier-II and Tier-III cities as viable business destinations, enabling the scope for greater job creation. Vibrant economic activities and employment opportunities will augment both commercial and residential real estate developments, improving the quality of life in Indiaâ€™s smaller cities.