National Conference Provincial President and MLA, Devender Singh Rana, on Tuesday urged the PDP-BJP Government to impress upon the government of India to accord immediate approval to the proposal about alternate airport at Bajalta or Panjgrian areas 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,” Rana, according to a statement, 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,” 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.”
He said that the proposal must be submitted to the Airports Authority of India for inclusion in its airport development programme
“I hope that the matter will also be taken up at the highest level during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir later this week for making an announcement in affirmation of the proposal in principle.”
He said Jammu hosts nearly ten million pilgrims annually with substantial number of them taking to air route. “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, 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 Vaishno Devi shrine.
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 added.