The Indian state of Karnataka is wooing investors for the development of the new Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) as an air cargo hub. This has been made evident through the recent visit of a high-profile State government delegation to New York.
The delegation, led by the Karnataka minister for large and medium scale industries, Murugesh Nirani, and consisting of the chief secretary, Karnataka Government, Sudhakar Rao and principal secretary, V Umesh, visited New York recently to make a pitch for investment in various sectors.
"We will upgrade and modernise our infrastructure," Minister Nirani said during a meeting with potential investors sponsored by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the US-India Business Council at the Indian Consulate General in New York.
"Bangalore already enjoys an international reputation as a global outsourcing hub for BPO (business process outsourcing) and KPO (knowledge process outsourcing). It is also an important centre for various industries, including aerospace and automotive. It would offer excellent long-term facilities for airlines and other players interested in setting up an air cargo hub in Bangalore," Rao told the media.
Echoing the minister's views, secretary Rao said that development of infrastructure was "extremely important" for the state. "The state's chief minister has held discussions with the private sector on the upgrading of infrastructure and steps are being taken to boost passenger and cargo capacity at the new Bangalore airport. The state has also drawn up plans to develop tier-I and tier-II cities along with Bangalore to provide back-up support."
With the new Bangalore International Airport acting as a fulcrum, the state government plans to develop smaller airports to relieve the pressure on the main airport.
Secretary Rao also mentioned that the government would make a large outlay for the development of road and rail connections with airports and seaports. "This will greatly facilitate feeder services in the long run," he added.
"The state is boosting air connectivity to all the districts of the state. Besides the 12 districts, which already have or are in the process of being linked by air, the state plans to provide airstrips to 10 additional districts."
"Karnataka is in the process of acquiring land for the creation of three new industrial areas exclusively for aerospace, electronics hardware and IT industries near Bangalore International Airport. This will not only provide a strong impetus for growth in air cargo exports but also help in boosting feeder services," Rao said.
According to Rao, the state was considering setting up additional special economic zones (SEZs) part form the current 48.