Badal seeks MoD clearance for Mohali airport

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Chandigarh, Dec 21 (UNI) The Civil Aviation sector in Punjab appears set for a take off with the Centre today agreeing to speed up clearance of the Mohali International Airport and consider the states demand for setting up flying clubs and pilot and cabin crew academies in the state.

The Centre also gave a postive respose to the states demand for allowing civil terminals to function at Adampur and Bhisiana (Bathinda) airports.

The central government and the Airport Authority of India have already given their "in principle" approval to the Mohali International Airport.

The Bathinda air linkage assumes significance in the light of the clearance given to the Guru Gobind Singh Bathinda Refinery.

These assurances were given at a meeting between Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Defence Minister A K Antony at Delhi today.

The clearance of the Defence Ministry for the landing of civilian international flights at Mohali is necessary as it would intially involve using the airstrip of the Air Force station in Chandigarh.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the Punjab Government for this prestigious project had already been finalised. The MoU is likely to be signed as soon as the basic formalities on acquisition are completed.

The Chief Minister also sought the Defence Ministry's go ahead for the extension of the runway to 10,500 feet, building a parallel taxi-way and shifting of the missile site at Chandigarh. The Chief Minister pointed out that international flights could start operating from the present airstrip if the Government agreed to extend watch hours at Air Force Station, Chandigarh from 0600 hours to 2200 hours.

The Chief Minister also asked Mr Antony to grant the NOC for up-gradation and extension of Sahnewal Airport (Ludhiana) runway to approximately 8000 feet.

Mr Badal impressed upon Mr Antony to give permission for Civil Terminals at IAF Station Bhisiana in Bathinda district and Adampur in Jalandhar district on pattern of similar civil terminals already set-up at Air Force station's at Pathankot and Chandigarh.

Mr Badal urged the Defence Minister to give necessary clearances to the state government's proposal to provide flying training facilities to the youth at Talwandi Sabo with a proposed runway lengthy of approximately 7000 feet.

He also demanded clearance for establishing a Indian National Defence University in Punjab as the high powered committee from MoD had already visited and inspected a 300 acre site in Mohali for the proposed University.

The Chief Minister also asked the MoD to develop Jagatjit Palace at Kapurthala as a heritage destination and grant permission to display war trophies in the proposed defence pavillion in Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala.


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