By bappaditya paul
If you have been to the NSC Bose International Airport’s new terminal and wondered why its floor looks so ugly with the colour of the tiles varying in shades of white to yellow, hear it from the Airports Authority of India.
AAI says that in order to cut cost they have used Indian granites on the new terminal floor that are of “inferior quality compared to the imported ones” and apparently this is the reason why the floor of the Rs 2,325-crore swanky new terminal is proving to be a torment to the aesthetic sense of the visitors.
“A square metre of foreign granite tiles costs about Rs 10,000, whereas the Indian granite tiles that we have used in Kolkata airport’s new terminal has cost us about Rs 2,500 per square metre. We did so to cut down the cost,” said Mr V P Agarwal, chairman AAI.
According to NSC Bose Airport director, Mr B P Sharma, who has also been the project director for the new terminal, they procured the granite tiles from five quarries in Jalore, Rajasthan. “We procured the best granites available in the country and the colour variation is due to the fact that granite being a natural product, their shades vary from quarry to quarry.”
AAI insiders, however, do not fully agree with the authorities’ version.
“It is true that imported granites cost more than the indigenous ones but the quality of Indian granites is not that inferior. At Rs 2,500 a square metre you will get superb quality granites in India,” said a senior AAI official. “The question is are the ones used in Kolkata airport’s new terminal of that price. My information is that the granites used in Kolkata are of a much inferior quality priced between Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,300 a square metre.”
What has contributed to the ugliness of the floor is the absence of a pattern in which the granite tiles have been set.
“They could have saved the situation to a great extent by arranging the tiles of varying shades in separate rows, instead of placing them in a scattered manner as has been done” the officer said.
The passenger area at N S C Bose Airport’s new terminal is spread over 1.80 lakh square metre and going by the flat calculation of Rs 2,500 / square metre as the authorities have claimed to have paid, AAI has used granite tiles worth about Rs 45-crore for the floor.
(The author is Senior Reporter, The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 13 June 2013.)