JAMMU: National Conference Provincial President and MLA Mr Devender Singh Rana on Tuesday urged the PDP-BJP Government to impress upon the Centre to accord immediate approval to the proposal with regard to alternate airport either at Bajalta or Panjgrian in the close vicinity of the winter capital. “The survey stands undertaken and feasibility report prepared in pursuance to the decision of the District Development Board on my proposal”, Mr Rana said while reacting to the meeting convened by the Chief Minister on expansion of Jammu Airport and night landing facilities at Srinagar Airport yesterday.
“In fact the State Government should have been pro-active in pushing the proposal following identification of appropriate sites at Bajalta and Panjgrian by the Revenue Department in due deference to the DDB decision”, Mr Rana said, adding that the alternate airport is imperative, not only for meeting needs of huge pilgrim tourist footfall at the gateway to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, but also to have Jammu on the map of international airports with night landing facilities.
In a statement, the MLA Nagrota said that the proposal had been discussed threadbare at administrative level before preparing feasibility reports, which are suggestive of viable landmass available at both the places to have a state-of-art airport with all modern facilities. “The proposal is needed to be taken to logical conclusion and submitted to the Airports Authority of India for inclusion in its airport development programme”, he added.
The MLA hoped that the matter will also be taken up at the highest level during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir later this week for making an announcement in affirmation of the proposal in principle. He said Jammu is blessed to play host to nearly ten million pilgrims annually with substantial number of them taking to air route and therefore the added facility will only be appropriate for enabling them have all necessary facilities.
About the proposed alternate airport project at Bajalta or Panjgrian, Mr Rana said that apart from a huge landmass the site is ideal to have an alternate airport given its proximity to the winter capital and base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage at Katra. He said infrastructural development is key to opening up virgin tourist destination of the Jammu region apart from pilgrim centres to people across the country and even abroad. “It is a bounden duty of the government to ensure these facilities for giving fillip to Jammu economy, as also extend facilities to the visiting pilgrims and tourists”, he maintained.