Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will dedicate the terminal, a spanking four-storey glass marvel, whose design has been inspired by a dancing peacock, to the nation. However, the actual operations at the terminal are likely to commence from February. Earlier, the operation was to start from January itself.

The T2 has come up at a whopping investment of Rs 9,800 crore as against initial projection of Rs 7,452 crore. The sprawling premises boast of tens of thousands of artifacts and paintings, housing arguably one the largest collections in the world at an airport.

The most attractive feature of the swanky terminal is the museum of artifacts. Stretching along a 3-km art wall, the museum houses over 7,000 artifacts collected from over 1,500 artists across the country.

The inauguration ceremony will be attended by political heavyweights like NCP president and Union Minister Sharad Pawar, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Top brass from Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) and Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, during whose tenure as Aviation Minister the decision to privatize Delhi and Mumbai airports was taken in 2006, will also be present. Spread over an area of a little over 4.39 lakh square meters, the T2 has been designed to cater to an estimated 40 million passengers annually. One of the country's busiest airports currently caters 32 million passengers a year.

Under the privatization policy of UPA-I Government the Delhi and Mumbai airports were given to private parities for modernization in 2006. While a GVK-led consortium bagged the contract for Mumbai airport, the Delhi airport went to a GMR-led entity. Even after privatization, the state-run Airports Authority of India hold 26 percent stake each in these two airports.

The state-of-the-art T2 will be larger than Singapore's Changi T3 (3.80 lakh sqm) and London's Heathrow T5 (3.53 lakh sqm). It will be able to accommodate 9,900 passengers during peak hours. It has a 7-lakh sq ft area of retail space, lounges and travel services.

The Rs 12,500-crore modernization and development work of the Mumbai airport actually began in 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in 2010. Of the four-level terminal, level 1 will be used for ground transportation and 2 for arrivals. Level 3 will have domestic security and retail space, while level 4 is meant for common international and domestic check-ins, international security and retail.

As far as facilities are concerned, the terminal will have 188 check-in counters, 60 immigration sites for departing passengers and 76 immigration counters for incoming fliers. Also, passengers will have access to 47 escalators and 73 elevators. The facilities also include 52 boarding gates, around 11,000 seats, 101 toilets, 44 travelators, 16 lounges, and 10 baggage carrousels, among others.

(Agencies)

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