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Featured Image: Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju (circled) interacting with media at Kolkata airport on Tuesday. To his left is Trinamool MP Sougata Roy, who is the chairman of Kolkata airport’s advisory committee.  

Kolkata: THE Centre has passed the ball in Bengal government’s court as regards the chances of building a second airport in or around Kolkata.

Speaking to reporters at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at Dum Dum in the city today, Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said if the state government provides land, Centre will take initiative in building a second airport in Kolkata.

“Kolkata can have an alternative airport only if the West Bengal government provides land,” the minister said after inaugurating a 15 MW solar power plant at the Dum Dum airport. “To build an airport, huge tracts of land with proper road connectivity is required,” he added.

Apart from the existing airport at Dum Dum, there is a smaller airport at Behala in south Kolkata, which too is owned by the Airports Authority of India. But a portion of it is under encroachment and despite talks for the past several years about reviving it, not much has progressed.

At present, helicopters to Digha and Ganga Sagar occasionally take off and land at the Behala airport.