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Posted at: Oct 11, 2018, 1:45 AM; last updated: Oct 11, 2018, 1:45 AM (IST)

Halwara airport dream closer to reality, most NOCs completed

Halwara airport dream closer to reality, most NOCs completed
Relief material being loaded on a plane at Halwara Air Force Station. File Photo

Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, October 10

Residents’ dream of having an international airport in the district is inching closer to reality with approvals and most NOCs having been completed. 

During his visit to the city in August, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had announced that flights for civilians would be started from the Halwara Air Force Station, fanning expectations of residents, especially industrialists, who have been demanding an international airport in the district.

Speaking about the status of the airport, Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agrawal said most NOCs between the Airport Authority of India (AAI), Ministry of Defence, Punjab Government and the Central Government had been completed. “All departments concerned of the Government of India and the state government are in the loop and working on this project,” he said. Now, land issues are being worked out and the process is heading in the right direction, he added.

Tejveer Singh, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said the draft MoU between the AAI and the Punjab Government is being worked out. In-principle clearance from the IAF and the Ministry of Defence in the matter has been given, he said. “Some site has been jointly identified by the AAI and the Air Force, and land for the terminal is going to be provided by the state government. There is normally around a three-year time frame for the construction of an airport,” he said. Once accomplished, Ludhiana would join some of the districts where a civil aviation facility is carved out of an IAF station. Such airports, including those in Chandigarh, Pune and Srinagar, are made alongside the IAF stations.

Residents, including industrialists, are elated at the development. “The absence of an airport for decades has already cost Ludhiana immensely. We lose so much time. In fact, most business travellers refuse to come to Ludhiana when they are told that they would have to come by road from Delhi or Chandigarh. They rather prefer tier-1 cities having an airport facility. That has deprived several industries, including the IT industry, from flourishing to its potential in the district,” said Preet Chandhoke, Punjab representative of Electronics and Software Exports Promotion Council. 


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