Madhya Pradesh is planning to set up, what it dubs, India's first 'aviation city' at a cost of Rs 23,245 crore ($5 billion). This will be an aircraft repair and maintenance facility as well as a cargo hub.

"At present the nearest such facility is in Singapore," state minister Kailash Vijayvargiya informed the media yesterday.

The minister also informed that the facility will be located at Dabra in Gwalior district.

"A cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Shivraj Singh decided that the state government will provide 7,000 acres of land for the aviation city," the minister added. "The major portion of the land for the project belongs to Dabra Sugar Mill and the rest will be provided by the government. It will also have a cargo hub." he said.

"It will be the country's first aviation city and will have facilities for repair and maintenance of aircraft.

"At present there is no such facility in India and airlines have to go to Singapore for such work as it is the nearest city where such facilities are available," he said. "A joint venture with the Singapore-based company that runs the Singapore facility is being planned," he said.

The minister did not name other Indian companies that will participate in the proposed joint venture.

According to the minister, the city, expected to come up over the next five years at an investment of Rs23,245 crore, would initially provide jobs to 25,000 people. This number is slated to go up to 100,000 eventually, he said.