Ahmedabad Airport News

Gold smuggling: Volume up by 37% in Ahd
Times of India | 18 hours ago | |
Times of India
18 hours ago | |

AHMEDABAD: A rising number of gold smuggling cases have been detected at the Ahmedabad airport, and at airports across the country, ever since the basic customs duty on gold went up. At the Ahmedabad airport alone, seizures of smuggled gold have spiked by 37.5% merely eight months into FY 2023 as compared to FY 2022, suggests the data released by the Ahmedabad customs commissionerate. From March to November 2022, 30 persons have been arrested at the Ahmedabad airport in connection with gold smuggling. About 40kg of gold was seized in FY 2022 and the figure shot up to 55kg in the current fiscal. Effective July 1 this year, gold started attracting a basic customs duty of 12.5% in addition to the 2.5% agriculture cess. Over and above this, 3% GST is also applicable on gold purchases, taking the effective duties and taxes on gold to 18%. On Wednesday, the gold price stood at Rs 54,400 per 10 gram in the Ahmedabad market. Therefore, for every kilogram of gold smuggled, the smuggler makes a profit of Rs 9.7 lakh, excluding costs paid to couriers. “Due to the geopolitical uncertainty and economic instability, yellow metal prices are already high. With the Indian currency depreciating past the 81-mark, the effective price of gold in the Indian market is even higher after adding duties,” said Haresh Acharya, director, India Bullion and Jewellers’ Association. Acharya added: “Therefore, the procurement of gold through unofficial channels is increasingly taking place here to save duties.” In fact, IBJA has already sent a representation to the Union finance ministry, seeking to abolish the basic customs duty on gold and instead hiking the GST to 15%. “In that situation, smugglers will not get any incentive to procure gold from other countries. A level-playing field will be created for gold industry players, as unofficial procurements will stop,” said a senior IBJA official. “At the same time, the exchequer will not lose revenue. It will also make the gold market more organized.”

Gold smuggling: Volume up by 37% in Ahd
  • 18kg smuggled gold seized in Ahm, 5 held
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Just ahead of the assembly elections in Gujrat, some five passengers arriving from Sharjah at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad were arrested on Tuesday by the air intelligence unit of the Customs Commissionerate, Ahmedabad, for smuggling gold. Some 18.34kg of gold was recovered and seized by the Customs department officials. Gold price stood at Rs 54,500 per 10 gram in the Ahmedabad market. Accordingly, the seized gold is estimated to be worth Rs 10 crore in the local markets here. The duo was among the five passengers who were intercepted by the customs officials, based on passenger profiling carried out using scientific tools. Two of the five were found to be carrying gold concealed in paste form in a waist belt. Officers of the air intelligence unit at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad said, "Gold was concealed in the form of paste and kept in pockets of a specially designed belt the passengers wore around their waist. The duo claimed they were wearing a specific belt for relief from backache". The gold was confiscated by the Customs department officials under section 111 and section 11(3) of the Customs Act, 1962. "Upon interrogation, the remaining three passengers admitted active involvement in smuggling gold with these two passengers," said a Customs official. Offence has been registered against all five passengers under Section 132 and Section 135 of the Customs Act 1962. All have been arrested and produced before the court. Of late, Ahmedabad Customs has been increasingly unearthing cases of gold smuggling in huge quantities. Gold smuggling has particularly increased over the past 8-10 months as the basic customs duty on gold has been increased by the Union Finance Ministry as a result of which gold price is higher in India. “Lately, due to geopolitical uncertainty and economic instability, yellow metal prices are already high. With the Indian currency depreciating past the 81-mark, the effective price of gold in the Indian market is even higher after adding duties. Therefore, procurement of gold through unofficial channels is increasingly taking place here to save duties,” said Haresh Acharya, director, India Bullion, and Jewellers’ Association.

Flyers will have to reach airport two hours early
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 days ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 days ago | |

Domestic air passengers will have to reach the airport two hours before schedule. Usually, passengers usually reach one hour before their scheduled domestic flight. However, with increased footfall, many have been missing their flights on busy routes. Keeping this in mind, airlines may also issue advisory asking passengers to reach 1.5 to 2 hours earlier for check-ins.Post Diwali, passenger footfall at Ahmedabad airport has witnessed a steady rise. Owing to NRI season, elections and religious programmes, domestic passenger traffic at the airport has touched 32,000 people per day.As a result, during peak hours on busy routes, check-in and boarding counters witness heavy rush leading to long queues.On the other hand, there have been complaints that on some routes, passengers are offloaded due to overbooking by airlines.Prahladnagar resident and businessman Chirag Patel is a frequent flyer. He flies in and out of the city 8-10 times a month.He said, “A few days ago, I reached on time for my early morning flight and yet, the airline had closed the luggage counter. Many times, the doors are closed. As a result, I had to pay more money to catch a connecting flight.”Airlines, which overbook have to offload many passengers due to load restrictions. This happens because most flyers arrive at the airport an hour before the scheduled flight. As a result, the check-in and boarding counters get crowded and lot of time is wasted there.Ahmedabad airport sources said normal footfall ranges between 26,000 and 27,000. However, during Diwali it rises and after the festive season it drops again. However, this time with elections and NRI season at the peak, passenger traffic has risen by 5,000. Such an advisory was issued during Diwali festive season also.Sources said airport and airlines may issue the advisories asking passengers to reach two hours early.

Flyers will have to reach airport two hours early
  • Plan crash: Flyers in lurch as 21 flights delayed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport in Ahmedabad
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: In utter chaos at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad on Sunday, 21 flights were delayed. Of these, five were delayed for more than three hours. Two flights, to Goa and Delhi, were delayed by four hours. Two flights to Jaipur were delayed by 3.5 hours. A Mumbai-bound flight was delayed by five hours. Distressed passengers ended up waiting at the airport for long hours due to lack of prior information about the delay. Other flights which were delayed for an hour and three hours included flights to Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Jaisalmer, Goa, Chennai and Bengaluru. "We boarded the flight to Chennai an hour earlier and the flight has still not departed. We have not been given any reasons for the delay yet," a passenger posted on social media. A well-placed source said rotation issues caused by a shortage of aircraft has led to an increase in flight delays at SVPI airport in Ahmedabad. "Due to the aircraft shortage, airlines are compelled to work with smaller fleets which leads to to cancellation of flights or rescheduling of operations. The shortage was caused by several Airbus 320 aircraft being grounded," source said.

A-listers air their views in Gujarat, landslide win for charter flights
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: As political bigwigs 'carpet bombed' poll-bound Gujarat by holding 400-odd rallies across state since the announcement of the election, slogans as well as charter flights have rent the air. At least 650 charter aircraft movements were recorded at the general aviation terminal of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport from November 4 to November 28, as star campaigners held rallies and public meetings in the run-up to one of the most consequential elections in recent time. The charter flight movements are about 60% higher than in September, when on average 15 charter aircraft flew in and out of Gujarat, an airport source told TOI. In addition to corporate travel, electoral campaigns are driving charter movements in the state. Besides PM Narendra Modi, a battery of political notables including BJP president J P Nadda, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath have visited Gujarat since the poll was declared. Airports and airstrips across Gujarat have been busy handling private jets and helicopters this month, catering to the VIPs from the BJP, the Congress, and the AAP. “Since November 11, about 270 non-scheduled flight movements have been recorded here, including those of 180 choppers,” said another source. “The surge was spurred by the bustling election campaign and movement of star campaigners.” The Bhavnagar airport, which typically handles one flight a day, had to deal with 19 aircraft landings on Saturday alone. That day Union home minister Amit Shah, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil, and Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil, among others arrived in the district for canvassing. Most political heavyweights flew by private charters and hired helicopters. Ahmedabad’s SVPI airport, which contended with 650-700 charter movements over the past 28 days, also handled scheduled commercial operations of about 6,700 flights.

A-listers air their views in Gujarat, landslide win for charter flights
Surat: Traffic restrictions only during PM’s visit
Times of India | 4 days ago | |
Times of India
4 days ago | |

SURAT: Multiple roads in the city are to remain closed for routine traffic movement on Sunday evening and Monday morning owing to stringent police bandobast for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city on those two days. People coming or going to Surat airport from the city will have to plan movement in advance as Dumas Road will be off bounds for general traffic for a few hours. After arrival at the city airport, Modi will go to Mota Varachha through Dumas Road, Athwalines main road, Ring road and from Sahara Darwaja to Parvat Patia. He will reach the venue through BRTS canal road and Savji Korat Bridge. Barricading at a few locations on the stretch has already been done as people are expected to gather in large numbers to get a glimpse of Modi. Similarly, Modi will return to the airport from Circuit House on Monday morning. For this, there will be traffic restrictions from Athwalines to the city airport. City police had earlier announced restrictions for parking and movement of vehicles from 6am on Sunday on the entire stretch. While returning to the airport, restrictions will be imposed between 7am and 2 pm. Senior police officials have issued clarification that the traffic restrictions will not be for the entire day, but only for specific periods facilitating the PM’s convoy to cross through these stretches. “The traffic restrictions will not be for the entire day but for some time when the PM’s convoy passes through the stretch. The traffic restrictions will be not more than a few minutes in the evening,” said Ajay Tomar, city police commissioner. The police will install tight bandobast on the entire stretch, even as the intersections to cross the road on which Modi’s convoy will pass through, will be kept closed. On weekends, Gaurav Path Dumas Road is the favourite hangout for Surtis and Modi’s visit is likely to attract thousands.

Surat: Traffic restrictions only during PM’s visit
Demand for direct flights to US rises
Ahmedabad Mirror | 5 days ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
5 days ago | |

After Air India announced direct flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, demand for direct flights from Ahmedabad to US is on the rise.Aviation department sources said, “Despite allotment of slots for direct flights from Ahmedabad to US 10 years back, the flight has not started.”He added, “As a result, lakhs of tourists coming to Gujarat reach Ahmedabad via Delhi or Mumbai after hours of halt. Due to this, the elderly and students suffer a lot.”Hence, the Federation of Gujarati Association (FOGA) has made representations at different levels to start direct Ahmedabad-US flights.Of around 50 lakh Indians living in US, 17-18 lakh are Gujaratis. And, these people travel to Gujarat mostly in the November-January period, which is considered NRI season.However, irrespective of the NRI season or religious events like the Pramukh Swami birth centenary, millions of Gujarati families from the US frequently visit Ahmedabad from New York, New Jersey, San Francisco and Chicago.Instead of Delhi and Mumbai, demand for direct flights from Ahmedabad to various places in the US has risen.As further evidence, Manish Sharma, chairman of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Gujarat Chapter, pointed, “About 62-70% on Air India flying from Mumbai and Delhi to US are Gujaratis.”He added, “Though a direct flight slot from Ahmedabad to US was allotted to Air India in 2007, it was discontinued in 2012. At that time, the US government gave excuse that the baggage screening system at Ahmedabad airport was not ultra-modern.”However, airport sources claim that the baggage screening system has touched international standards over the past one-and-a-half years after the management of Ahmedabad Airport was handed to a private company.

Demand for direct flights to US rises
Lost your valuables at airport? Fret not
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 week ago | |

If you forget your valuables at the airport, you need not pani. You are most likely to get them back if you follow due procedure. Recently, the Ahmedabad airport staff received a pat on their backs after they helped popular singer Shubha Mudgal get her air pods back after she had lost them at the airport.She later tweeted about her experience and also thanked the staff.Airport officials said that often passengers leave behind their laptops, mobile phones, smart watches, sunglasses, leather jackets, headphones and chargers among other things while rushing to catch a flight.In the past six months, over 1,000 passengers have left behind their belongings at the airport. They were later found by the security staff and 971 such passengers had their valuables returned to them. Officials said most passengers forget their prized possessions in the waiting area, security check-in or boarding counters.Officials said all belongings that are left behind when found by the staff are deposited with the ‘lost and found department’. “If passengers make a claim, follow the proper procedure and show the requisite documents, the belongings are returned,” said an official.Bhavin Patel, a resident of South Bopal forgot his leather purse at domestic terminal of Ahmedabad aiport while boarding a flight to Lucknow. “I informed the staff and my purse was deposited with the lost and found department. I handed an authorised letter to my wife who collected it on my behalf. The purse had cash and some important documents, but everything was safe,” said Patel.An official said often passengers create panic and refuse to follow procedures which can delay the retrieval of lost belongings.What you need to get valuables back​​​​​​​ Boarding pass copy An ID card Authority letter in absence of the owner who lost the belonging The ID of the person authorised to collect the valuables on your behalf

Lost your valuables at airport? Fret not
VVIP movement delays 5 flight landings
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 week ago | |

The heavy VVIP movement in Gujarat due to the Assembly Elections resulted in five flights hovering above the city for nearly an hour on Thursday before they got landing permission.Ahmedabad airport has seen a surge in chartered flights as several leaders visit poll-bound Gujarat. PM Narendra Modi visited the state on Wednesday and again returned on Thursday afternoon. Three central ministers also visited on Thursday. Airport sources said since the PM was to visit the state the airport was on high alert. “Five flights were scheduled to land at the Ahmedabad Airport but the ATC could not give them clearance and so they flew over the city skyline for an hour,” said the source.One such flight was SpiceJet which was flying from Bagdogra and was running short on fuel. The pilot informed the ATC and suggested if not Ahmedabad they will have to land at Surat airport. The ATC then gave the flight permission to land, said sources.Advocate Mahendra Bhavsar, who was on SpiceJet flight, said, “We flew over the city for some time and later the pilot announced we were running low on fuel. This got the passenger worried. The pilot also suggested landing at Surat but we were allowed to land at the international terminal runway in Ahmedabad,” said Bhavsar.Conveyor belt affected​​​​​​​The conveyor belt at Ahmedabad airport was not operational for one-and-a-half hours due to a technical snag and passengers had to manually collect their luggage, sources said. The belt has conked off several times in the past few days leading to hassles for passengers. Several flights have also been delayed as luggage does not get loaded on time.

VVIP movement delays 5 flight landings
Congress: EC operates on BJP directive, denied parking nod to Gehlot’s aircraft
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Accusing the Election Commission (EC) for being hand-in-glove with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat, president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Jagdish Thakor on Tuesday said aircraft belonging to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was denied permission to park in Ahmedabad and had to be taken to Vadodara.Speaking to reporters, Thakor said, “Yesterday (Monday) we got permission to travel from Surat to Mahuva by two helicopters. Initially, permission was denied and after we informed the EC, we got permission. As soon as we reached the airport, permission for one of the helicopters was cancelled.”He added, “The Airport Authority of India told us that due to the rush caused by events of Prime Minister and Home Minister, the permission has been declined. It is our open allegation that EC operates on BJP directive.”“Some days ago, when Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came, we were told that there was no space at the Ahmedabad airport to park his plane and that it should be taken to Vadodara. But there were only four private planes at the airport,” Thakor said. The GPCC president said a party gets only 3-4 passes to receive VIP guests at airports. “Yesterday when I landed at Ahmedabad airport, I saw at least 30 people waiting to receive a BJP minister near the VIP lounge,” he said adding that rules of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) should apply equally to all national parties.Thakor said tenders for putting up poll advertisements on electricity poles in Rajkot municipal area were given to the BJP without informing the Congress about the publication of the tenders. “We are going to file a formal complaint with the EC on Wednesday,” he added.The GPCC president said that the party was not getting permission to hold meeting in villages from sarpanches aligned with the BJP. He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should publicise the names of all those who received the 71,000 jobs for which he gave out job-offer letters.

Congress: EC operates on BJP directive, denied parking nod to Gehlot’s aircraft
Airport bus underused, ridership only 600/day
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 week ago | |

Airport BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) buses see a ridership of a mere 600 average per day. The bus on ‘Udaan route’ launched in October 2021 has a mixed route from Airport-Iskcon-Airport, and Airport-Maninagar- Airport. The average per day ridership is based on the number of passengers taking the bus for the airport and leaving from there. The revenue of the bus, which takes passengers only from the domestic terminal, ranges from Rs 32,000 to Rs 35,000 per day. The estimated travellers taking the bus is about 1,500 average per day.Its frequency of the 30 electrical 27 seater buses, with facilities to keep the luggage, ranges from 15 to 20 minutes. The low visibility of the Airport BRTS bus needs to be worked on and improved. Sources said, “There is a dedicated station at the airport and it costs a mere Rs 50 to reach your destination. But there are many passengers who are not aware of its availability.”Promotion for the service was done by Janmarg through various media platforms, marketing, and pamphlets were distributed. “One reason is that the BRTS operation runs from 6 am to 11 pm. People often land by late-night flights and the BRTS buses are not available at that time,” the sources said.The non-profit campaign ‘Bus4us Amdavad’ aims to garner public support for buses in the city and is initiated by Urbanworks which works with AMC to make the visibility of the service better.Aarti Nair, senior communication officer of Urbanworks, said, “We are tapping influencers through social media campaigns so that the Airport BRTS bus is used. The low ridership is because people have a tendency to book taxis. Most people think that public transport is for a certain class. This needs to be changed.”Social media posts and tweets on it suggest that it is appreciated by people but it needs momentum. Arjit Soni stated in a tweet, “Enroute Airport to Iskcon crossroads for just 50 bucks. Courtesy@Ahmedabad BRTS.”BRTS general manager Vishal Khanama said, “We have collaborated with Bus4us of Urbanworks to promote it, and with airport authorities to make it more visible.”

Airport bus underused, ridership only 600/day
Family buys tickets 8 months ahead, flight gets cancelled
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 weeks ago | |

The family of a businessman, who had booked an Air India ticket for the Ahmedabad-Delhi flight eight months in advance, had to sit outside the airport for hours and later found out that there was no such flight. The man had booked the ticket online from a travel app.Later, they were allotted tickets after six hours of struggle and left for Delhi, airport sources said.Kishore Nirankari, of Nava Naroda area who runs a lift-elevator business, said, “Due to some personal reasons, we had booked four tickets of Air India’s Ahmedabad-Delhi flight through Goibibo online travel booking app in March for travel in November. The tickets were booked in the names of my wife, two children and me.”He said, “Our flight was scheduled for 6.50 pm on November 14, so from November 12 I got messages for web check-in but we were not able to do it. On Monday, we reached the airport at 4.30 pm.”When they went to gate no. 2 of the domestic terminal 2, the security staff checked the tickets and told them there was no such flight showing on the flight screen, thus denying them entry into the terminal. They asked him to call the airline staff.When Nirankari showed the ticket to the airline staff, they said that they had a tie-up with a private company for tickets, but now that tie-up is no longer there and there is no such flight. Later, the man demanded to meet the airline manager but was made to wait. The family waited outside the terminal. Even as hours passed, there was no response from the airline.Nirankari said, “After sitting outside for hours and a heated argument, the airline told us that our tickets had been cancelled. We raised an alarm after which the manager allotted us tickets for the 9.30 pm flight for the same day.”It was learnt that since the family had to wait outside the terminal for six hours, Nirankari filed a written complaint to the airline.

Family buys tickets 8 months ahead, flight gets cancelled
Flier held with fake passport at Ahmedabad airport
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The city police has held a 44-year-old man at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport for carrying a fake Portuguese passport. According to police sources, an immigration officer named Ishita Thakkar was checking documents of passengers due to fly from Ahmedabad to Dubai during the small hours of Friday. Thakkar came across a man identifying himself as Bhavesh Devji, from Santa Cruz East in Mumbai, who had a Portuguese passport. Thakkar sensed that the document was dodgy because his birthplace was shown as Valsad. Further inspection revealed that the picture on the passport was of another man. Thakkar asked for other identity proof which the man could not produce. During preliminary questioning, the man told immigration officers at the airport that his original name was Nilesh Prajapati and he had obtained a fake Portuguese passport. The man was handed over to airport police and the special operations group of the city crime branch began an investigation. According to police, Prajapati alias Devji had gone to Armenia from Hyderabad in 2018 and then travelled to Serbia, Greece, Italy, France, and ultimately reached Portugal. He met a human smuggler in Portugal who provided him a fake Portuguese passport for Rs 17 lakh. The man got a tourist visa to India and came to Ahmedabad city on September 16. On Friday, he was supposed to go to Dublin in Ireland though Dubai.

Flier held with fake passport at Ahmedabad airport
  • Flier held with fake passport at Ahd airport
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The city police has held a 44-year-old man at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport for carrying a fake Portuguese passport. According to police sources, an immigration officer named Ishita Thakkar was checking documents of passengers due to fly from Ahmedabad to Dubai during the small hours of Friday. Thakkar came across a man identifying himself as Bhavesh Devji, from Santa Cruz East in Mumbai, who had a Portuguese passport. Thakkar sensed that the document was dodgy because his birthplace was shown as Valsad. Further inspection revealed that the picture on the passport was of another man. Thakkar asked for other identity proof which the man could not produce. During preliminary questioning, the man told immigration officers at the airport that his original name was Nilesh Prajapati and he had obtained a fake Portuguese passport. The man was handed over to airport police and the special operations group of the city crime branch began an investigation. According to police, Prajapati alias Devji had gone to Armenia from Hyderabad in 2018 and then travelled to Serbia, Greece, Italy, France, and ultimately reached Portugal. He met a human smuggler in Portugal who provided him a fake Portuguese passport for Rs 17 lakh. The man got a tourist visa to India and came to Ahmedabad city on September 16. On Friday, he was supposed to go to Dublin in Ireland though Dubai.

More Amdavadis hopping on to BRTS after Covid
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 weeks ago | |

Too many Amdavadis are hopping on to the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) for a commute as the number of passengers using the public transport system has seen a surge post covid. The numbers for both BRTS passengers and revenue are better compared to what it was during the pre-covid days.However, as for the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), the per day passenger numbers are the same as it was pre Covid.BRTS gets a boostPost-Covid the BRTS ferried 2.10 lakh passengers per day and earned a revenue of Rs 27 lakh from April to September 2022 compared to 1,43,771 passengers/day and Rs 19.04 lakh in revenue during pre-Covid times (2018-19).Sources said the BRTS service was shut down for some months in 2020 ad 2021 and after it resumed services its passenger numbers per day were in the thousands. “It took around six to eight months to normalise the service,” said the source.Those in the know said the surge in passenger numbers and resultant revenue can be attributed to the fact that BRTS fares have not increased in the last eight years.“Moreover, now all buses are air-conditioned. People are also realising that public transport is cheaper on the pocket and the last mile connectivity has helped attract more passengers,” said a source.The service at present runs 330 buses on 18 routes. It has added new routes and extended others after 2019.“Earlier, there were 160 BRTS stations which have gone to 195 now. The new routes like Maninagar to Airport, Nehrunagar to South Bopal and extension of the service to cover new areas like Sarkhej, Juhapura, Sanand from Vasna Adalaj, Trimandir from LD- Jundal, Airport, Hanspura Ring road have boosted the usage,” said the source.He said a BRTS station at Kalupur railway station has also helped matters.In 2019 the service had just 230 buses which increased to 330 now.“We had to increase the buses as the earlier ones were 12 metres in length but the new ones are 9 metres midibus and hence can ferry less number of passengers,” said a source.BRTS General Manager Vishal Khanama said, “Our commitment to frequency has helped raise ridership and revenue. Electrical buses are also extremely comfortable to travel in.”

More Amdavadis hopping on to BRTS after Covid
50-year-old trees chopped to make way for ‘helipad’
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 weeks ago | |

An octogenarian is waging a lone battle to save a patch of land with over 4,000 trees in Hansol from destruction. The land is adjoining the upcoming second phase of Sabarmati Riverfront. Eighty-six-year-old Firdos Cambatta and others have carefully nurtured the place into a green area in the past five decades.Cambatta, a conservationist, said Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Limited (GujSAIL) began chopping down the almost 50-year-old trees in plots no 313, 322 and 323 that run into thousands of square yards.Interestingly, the trees were chopped down despite a National Green Tribunal order which directed a committee of officials from different departments to visit the site on November 10, 2022, and submit an evaluation report.Cambatta said as per his knowledge, the trees are beingchopped for the development of a helipad. “Surprisingly, the airport is hardly a kilometre away from here yet, they want to destroy thick forest cover and biodiversity that exists in it,” said Cambatta.Locals in the area said the GujSAIL team visited Hansol’s plots no 313, 322 and 323 on Friday and Saturday to mark the trees and started chopping them on Sunday. The joint-site visit directed by the NGT was to include officials from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) – the nodal agency for the committee – along with other officials like Ahmedabad Collector, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force (HoFF).Talking about the NGT order, Cambatta said the chopping of trees is a clear violation of NGT’s order. “They have already chopped over 30 trees on Sunday and would have continued, had I not reached the place and intervened,” he said.Cambatta said they are not against the development of the city, but don’t see the point of destroying a canopy of forestation on land that is not even part of the Sabarmati Riverfront’s earmarked area.GujSAIL CEO Ajay Chauhan told Mirror that he was on leave and hence has no idea of what happened as well as the NGT order. “I have received two or three calls about the same issue and I will hold a meeting to look into the matter,” said Chauhan.When asked about the need for a heliport despite the presence of an airport hardly a km away, he said it is being planned keeping in mind Ahmedabad’s growth. “Veliport and Heliport are needed because helicopters need a separate facility and can’t wait for flights to clear the way in case of emergencies,” said Chauhan.He also clarified that they are all for sustainable development and since they are not experts on environmental issues, they will consult the Ministry of Environment and Forest and NGT.Sometime back Cambatta had dragged the state of Gujarat to the NGT and in the petition stated that many local women’s livelihood was dependent on the forest as they have been collecting fuel wood from the place for the past 35 years. He also mentioned that it is home to over a hundred species of birds and animals like the Nilgai (blue bull). The land is a government-declared gauchar land (grazing land). Rohit Prajapati, an environmental activist questioned GujSAIL’s hurry in chopping down the trees when the NGT had already directed the respective officials to visit and submit a report on the matter.

50-year-old trees chopped to make way for ‘helipad’
Man buys food for UP couple who boarded flight for first time. LinkedIn post goes viral
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

When people travel on an airplane for the first time, they feel nervous, irrespective of age. A man shared on LinkedIn how he helped a couple on a flight as it was their first time. The man even bought the couple food without them knowing that it was not free.Amitabh Shah from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, was on his way to Kanpur from the Delhi airport when he saw a couple who boarded the same flight as him. The couple looked visibly tired as they had travelled on a bus for eight hours from a remote village in UP to get to Delhi airport. Shah saw them in the boarding area and he could tell it was their first time. He walked up to them and helped them board the flight. They thought he worked for the airline, he wrote in the post.Inside the flight, they were seated in front of him. The woman asked him to click their photo and send it to their daughter on WhatsApp so she knows they are safe. Shah took their picture and sent it. He even posted the photo on LinkedIn.He shared that they seemed hungry and thirsty for hours so he bought them paneer sandwiches and juices. He told the air hostess to tell them that it was complimentary as they were lucky customers. He paid for them later when they were not watching.“They simply ‘smiled’ at me as we landed and went our own ways. This Magical Thursday, we should always be kind at every opportunity we get, & trust me opportunities to be kind are all around YOU, aren’t they?” he wrote in the end.See the post below:While many netizens applauded the man’s gesture there were some who didn’t approve of him sharing it on LinkedIn.“While what u did was exceptional in today’s time but u ruined it by putting it here,” commented a user. “Wonderful gesture .. making fellow “indians”comfortable in India is the primary responsibilty of us all who can . Considering the description the Couple they must sure be feeling out of place despite being in their own country and among their ‘own’. Its our job to not let them feel any different,” said another.

Man buys food for UP couple who boarded flight for first time. LinkedIn post goes viral
Ahmedabad: Man used Portuguese identity to travel to UK
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: In a bid to emigrate to the UK through illegal means, a 44-year-old man adopted a Portuguese identity. He was caught by Airport police in the wee hours of Tuesday at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport. According to police, Lakhanshi Keshwala, a native of Beran village in Porbandar, landed at SVPI airport on an Air India flight from London at around 3.10am on Tuesday. During the immigration check, an officer found that Keshwala had a Portuguese passport even though his birthplace was Porbandar. His name was mentioned as Mahendra Lakmane from Leicester in the UK. This raised suspicion and when Keshwala was asked how he obtained a Portuguese passport, he could not provide a satisfactory answer. As he was questioned about the passport further, he told the immigration officer that he fraudulently obtained the passport from an agent from Senegal named Vipul Kumar. Keshwala was handed over to Airport police and the investigation was handed over to the special operations group (SOG). On questioning, Keshwala told SOG investigators that he had first obtained a passport from Ahmedabad in 2014, using which he had gone to South Africa. He had then moved to Senegal where he met Vipul Kumar, who gave him a Portuguese passport in 2018, which mentioned his name as Mahendra Lakmane. Keshwala paid Kumar Rs 18 lakh for the Portuguese passport, said an SOG officer. Sources in the SOG police said Keshwala’s original Indian passport was destroyed by Kumar. Using the Portuguese passport, Keshwala travelled to Leicester where he began living and working for private companies. Sources in the SOG said Keshwala had in 2019 visited India using the Portuguese passport but at the time did not come under the scanner of the immigration officer. A police officer said Keshwala had come to Ahmedabad to attend a wedding at his sister’s place but was caught and sent to police custody. Keshwala and Lakmane, who is yet to be nabbed, have been booked for forgery, producing forged documents as genuine and abetment.

Ahmedabad: Man used Portuguese identity to travel to UK
Illegal migrants try to fly to US on Schengen visas stolen from Pakistan
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The relations between India and Pakistan may remain strained on the political and diplomatic fronts, but all is fair in love, war, and illegal immigration. Human smugglers had no qualms about stealing Schengen visa stickers allegedly from the Italian embassy in Islamabad and using it to send Indians to the US illegally. A senior officer close to the investigation in illegal immigration rings confirmed: "The racket came to light when two Gujarati families - one from Mehsana and the other from Ahmedabad - were deported from Frankfurt in Germany on February 6 this year. They had been travelling on Schengen visas stolen from the Italian embassy in Pakistan." As the families had flown to Frankfurt from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the IGI police in Delhi registered a case. "The investigation revealed that an agent from Kheda and another from Patan had got those stamps with the help of human smuggler Aslam based in Dakar, the capital of Senegal," said the officer. Officers at IGI airport in Delhi identified the flyers as Ronak Patel, his wife Deepika, their six-year-old daughter from Kadi in Mehsana, and Bhargav Patel, his wife Archana, and their five-year-old kid from Ranip in Ahmedabad. After the two families were caught for forging emigration documents, cops zeroed in on an agent, Manish alias Ketan Patel from Patan, who resides in Mahipalpur in Delhi. The chargesheet filed by Delhi police read, "The six travellers were given clearance on February 5 to depart from Delhi to Belgrade via Frankfurt on Air India flight AI-121. They were flying on passports affixed with tampered Italian Schengen visa stickers. Air India offloaded them from the flight after Eduard Hock, a German airport liaison officer, declared that their Schengen visa stamps had been stolen from the Italian embassy in Islamabad." After the two families were caught for forging emigration documents, cops zeroed in on an agent, Manish alias Ketan Patel from Patan, who lives in Mahipalpur in Delhi. "During his interrogation, Ketan disclosed that his aide Dushyant Brahmbhatt alias D C Kaka had obtained the visa stamps from human smuggler Aslam." Sources in Delhi police and central agencies said that nearly 1,000 visa stamps were stolen from the Italian embassy in Pakistan in June 2021. A Schengen visa sticker, which is pasted onto pages of the passport or travel document, contains the photo, name and passport number, as well as information describing the type, duration, and validity of your specific visa. "Aslam had obtained nearly 100 such stickers, and his last location was traced to Dakar in Senegal. The two Gujarati agents got the stamps from him and used them on the passports of 50 people," revealed the officer, adding: "The two charged Rs 1 crore each from the two families who were deported, and this included Rs 80,000 as the charge for the Schengen visa stickers." Officers said the two families were unaware of how they would travel to the US from Serbia. However, sources privy to the development said, "Frankfurt was a transit point, and the six were heading to Serbia. From there, the smugglers would have taken them to Alaska using fake passports." Cops are now searching for others who have successfully travelled on such stolen visas. The kingpin, Aslam, is still at large.

Illegal migrants try to fly to US on Schengen visas stolen from Pakistan
SVPI to get Metro station, new ATC tower
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: A few years down the line, you will be able to directly board a Metro train from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad to your respective destinations. As part of the airport master plan development presented by the Ahmedabad International Airport Limited (AIAL) before Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), a Metro station and Metro-link corridor will soon come up at the airport. This means transiting passengers can directly board the Metro to reach the airport or near their destinations. The project is expected to cost at least Rs 400 crore according to sources. The proposed site for the Metro station will be adjacent to the Terminal-II. While the project is still in planning and discussion stage between Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC), the airport operator and other stakeholders, the process for land acquisition and other regulatory approvals will begin soon. Sources confirmed that the project is expected to be operational by 2025, as part of the Phase-II of Ahmedabad Metro. A slew of other projects are also planned as part of the Airport Master Plan. These include setting up a new integrated terminal, refurbishment of the existing terminal buildings, runway recarpeting and allied projects, setting up a multimodal transport hub, a new cargo terminal and even a completely new tower for the air traffic controller (ATC). AIAL has proposed that the existing ATC tower be shifted and a completely new one along with a technical block be constructed, at a cost of Rs 183 crore. "An area of 9,840 square metres is earmarked in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) colony, near present location of the office of AAI, where the new tower will come up. The ATC tower and technical block will have a built-up area of 13,570 square metres," states the submission by AIAL. Notably, the plan to shift the ATC came up when the airport was being managed by AAI. However, AIAL will now execute it with necessary design modifications. Only once the new block and tower are commissioned, will the existing ones be decommissioned.

SVPI to get Metro station, new ATC tower
AMC’s tax revenue crosses Rs 900 cr
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 month ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 month ago | |

The AMC’s tax revenue has grown from last year’s figure ofRs 741.63 to Rs 910.47 crore.The civic body attributed the growth in tax revenue to people taking advantage of its scheme rolled out in commemoration of the 75th year of India’s Independence, Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav.As per the scheme, AMC had decided to give 75% interest rebate to property owners for a 75-day period.About 1,83,000 property holders took advantage of the scheme. AMC received Rs 146.90 crore during the period, while Rs 24.92 crore was given as interest rebate.Since the time Adani Ltd took over the management of the Ahmedabad International Airport, there has been a hike in its property tax by approximately Rs.10.84 crore.Adani representatives were given proper explanation with regards pending tax dues after which they held a meeting with senior airport officials.They were asked to clear the tax dues at the earliest. After this, on Friday, Adani Ahmedabad International Airport cleared tax dues totalling Rs.10.84 crore at one go.Thus, in a single day, AMC added a record Rs 23 crore as revenue from property tax.This means there are no pending taxes from the Adani Ahmedabad International Airport.Revenue Committee Chairman Jainik Vakil said, “The rise of Rs 170 crore is phenomenal. People have taken huge advantage of the scheme. Tax income has registered 23% growth compared to last year.”From April 1, 2022 to October 21, 2022, AMC received Rs 694.69 crore as property tax, a jump of Rs 169 crore (or 22.94%) from last year’s Rs 565.07.

AMC’s tax revenue crosses Rs 900 cr
Ahd airport to get new terminal by Feb 2026
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: To meet an estimated twofold rise in passenger handling capacity, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad is set to get a new terminal. The new integrated terminal building (NITB) will be adjacent to the existing domestic terminal, T-1. Ahmedabad International Airport Limited (AIAL), which has won the contract for operations, management and development of the new terminal, has proposed an outlay of Rs 3,130 crore for the project, in its submission before the airports economic regulatory authority. The airport operator has submitted a total multi-year tariff proposal of Rs 11,107.4 crore over the next four years, which includes capex plans in addition to other renovation, expansion and refurbishment work. Flier traffic projected to doubleThe terminal is expected to come up by February 2026. The decision to set up the new terminal was taken in the wake of higher passenger traffic projections over the next four years. In FY 2022, the airport operator (AIAL) submitted that the air passenger traffic is expected to grow 224% from an estimated 61 lakh in FY 2022 to 1.98 crore in FY 2026. This will be nearly double the pre-Covid level of air traffic which was 1.1 crore. During this period, the peak hour passenger projection is also expected to rise from 1,606 in 2022 to 2,094 in 2026. The airport operator has already begun expansion work on the existing domestic and international terminals to accommodate some 1.68 crore passengers per annum. “Even if the existing terminal capacity expands to accommodate 1.6 crore passengers per annum, it will not suffice to handle the passenger traffic of 1.98 crore as expected,” the airport operator stated in its submission. A roadway for the new passenger terminal will also be constructed at a cost of Rs 4.66 crore. Another key project proposed as part of the Ahmedabad Airport Master Plan (AAMP) includes construction of a new substation building at the cost of Rs 72.86 crore by FY 2026. The new substation will come up to meet growing power requirements of the city airport from the existing 11,444 kVA to 26,555 kVA by FY 2026. Other expansions include refurbishing the runway, taxiway infrastructure, airspace infrastructure, and other utility works.

Ahd airport to get new terminal by Feb 2026
Relook 6-yr-old defence policy, L&T official tells Gujarat govt
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Larsen & Toubro, among the biggest defence manufacturers in the country, Wednesday requested the Gujarat government to take a “relook” at its six-year-old defence policy.“While there are enormous good reasons to come here (in Gujarat), there is always something which can be improved upon. The defence policy of Gujarat is from 2016. It is six years’ (old) and it is time to take a relook at it,” said JD Patil, whole-time director and senior executive vice-president of L&T’s Defence Business, at DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar. “In 2016, we talked about Make in India. Today, we talk of AatmaNirbhar Bharat. We have moved on. The next phase is Make for India, Make for the World. It needs a different level of thinking,” said Patil while speaking at a seminar organised by the state government on ‘Gujarat: Propelling AatmaNirbhar Bharat in Aerospace and Defence Sector’.Additional Chief Secretary of Industries and Mines Department Raj Kumar and Industries Commissioner Rahul Gupta were among those present when the L&T official made the remarks.The Gujarat government had promised a slew of benefits, including providing land at 50 per cent discount, to the defence industry in its Aerospace and Defence Policy-2016.Praising the state government, Patil said, “The biggest reason to come to Gujarat is the peace at which you can run your business. Money you can bring in. Land and infrastructure will be provided (by the government).” L&T has seven defence units in the country of which are in Gujarat, he added.Dholera SIR managing director Hareet Shukla said the Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway was scheduled to be completed by December 2023 and the Dholera International Airport will be made operational by 2025-26.Commenting on the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant that is being set up at Dholera SIR, Kumar said, “When Vedanta-Foxconn decided to choose Dholera in Gujarat as the investment destination, it did not take long for them. Whatever they asked—500 acres of land, 100 MLD of water, so many megawatt of electricity, connectivity, airport—were given to them. That is the USP of Gujarat. So when we say, come and invest in Gujarat, we mean to say whatever you ask for will already be there so that you can immediately go into production without delays.”

Relook 6-yr-old defence policy, L&T official tells Gujarat govt