Shimla, Aug 24 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Government has asked the Centre to expedite its proposal to build Rs 700 crore Green Field Airport in Balh valley in Mandi district to accommodate larger aircraft.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal recently took up the matter with Union Minister for Civil Aviation stressing that Himachal Pradesh was the only state without the airport to facilitate the landing of the wide-bodied aircraft, which was adversely affecting the inflow of rich foreign and domestic tourists into the hill state.
He said that Airport Authority of India had carried out several techno-economic feasibility studies at the site and report was pending with the Centre and needed to be expedited.
He said that the Balh valley in Sundernagar area was in the middle of the state and suitably catered to the requirements of the visitors' to travel further to Kullu-Manali, Kangra valley and even Shimla district.
Prof. Dhumal said that the state connectivity was solely dependant upon the road network as inadequate railway and air network had been provided to the state. Moreover, Mr Dhumal added that Himachal Pradesh had majority of remote, hilly and inaccessible areas, where air transport was the only mode during winter season.
He said that there were three functional airports at Jubbar Hatti, near Shimla, Bhuntar in Kullu-Manali, Gaggal in Kanga valley, which were inadequate to cater to the high-paying tourist requirements.
He said that the state government had also raised the matter of upgradation of the existing airports to facilitate landing of bigger capacity planes.
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