The survey regarding construction of greenfield airport in Mandi district should be taken in hand soon by the consultants to pave way for construction of this airport, Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Saturday.
Presiding over a meeting with the senior officers of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and State Government here, the Chief Minister said that the State Government was planning to construct a greenfield airport at Mandi which would not only give a boost to tourism development in the State but would also be important from strategic point of view.
He said the Finance Commission has also recommended `1,000 crore for construction of this airport.
Thakur said Kangra airport also required expansion for facilitating operation of A-320 type of aircraft. He said that presently the airport was suitable for landing 72 seater aircraft with load penalty. The officials of Airport Authority of India must direct concerned authorities to visit Kangra airport for feasibility study and OLS survey for extended runway and finalize the master plan as the State Government has already conveyed the approval on draft master plan.
The CM said Kullu Airport also required to expand the existing runway by 660 meters to avoid load penalty. He said that this also required diversion of Beas river, adding that the Airport Authority of India has visited the airport for OLS survey but the report was still awaited.
He said five heliports were also being constructed under UDAN-2 in the State which include heliports at Kangnidhar in Mandi district, at Sanjauli and Rampur in Shimla district, at Baddi in Solan district and at SASE (Manali) in Kullu district. He said that all these heliports would give a big boost to tourism development by providing better air connectivity to the high end tourists. He said that Shimla heliport was nearing completion and trial landing had also been carried out by the GAD helicopter on 3rd January this year.
The Chief Minister requested the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to expedite the construction on all these heliports so that they could be completed within stipulated time period. He also felt the need for night parking of helicopters of an additional FATO for at least mi-172 type helicopter at Shimla heliport anticipating rush of flight at this heliport. He also requested the Ministry to complete Mandi heliport within next three months.
Secretary, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation Pradeep Singh Kharola assured the Chief Minister that the Ministry would ensure time bound completion of all these projects besides providing all possible help for construction of heliports. Director Tourism and Civil Aviation Yunus made a presentation on development of heliports under RCS UDAN-2.
Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation Usha, Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, PWD J.C. Sharma, Member, Planning, Airport Authority of India Anil Kumar Pathak, CMD Pawan Hans Limited Sanjeev Rajdan, Secretary Tourism Devesh Kumar, Deputy Director, DGCA Satya Prakash Rai and other officers were present on the occasion.