Published On:December 5 2018
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Nod to Halwara civil terminal

In a bid to further boost industrial and economic activity in the state, the Punjab Cabinet recently approved the setting up of a new international civil terminal at Indian Air Force (IAF) Station, Halwara, near here. Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said that this decision fulfilled an old demand of Ludhiana district, which was first taken up by Capt Amarinder Singh as well as by him with the Central Government. The matter, however, remained in abeyance, pending clearances from the Centre.

The project, aimed at giving a fillip to the economic development of Punjab’s business and industrial hub Ludhiana, also fulfils a long-pending demand of the Ludhiana-based industry, which the Chief Minister has now acceded.

Notably, Ludhiana is Punjab’s largest industrial and business city with a population of nearly two million, which is at present serviced by a small airport at Sahnewal under the operational control of the AAI, which runs RCS-UDAN flights to Delhi. Ludhiana also has the advantage of being at the geographical centre of Punjab.

With the length of the runway at the present airport being limited, it only allows for operation of small aircraft which severely limits air connectivity. Moreover, as the city has grown significantly around the airport, acquisition of additional land and expansion of the existing airport at Sahnewal is not feasible. Further, Ludhiana has substantial export potential, which could be exploited with the growth of cargo traffic.

The Cabinet has given a go-ahead for signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the same.

Bittu said the civil terminal would be developed jointly by the AAI and the Government of Punjab through a Joint Venture Company (JVC) to be constituted for the purpose. While the AAI would have majority stake of 51%, the Punjab Government, through the Greater Ludhiana Development Authority (GLADA), will have 49% stake in the project.

The state government would provide 135. 54 acres of land free of cost to the JVC by way of its equity in the project. The capital expenditure on development of the new airport would be borne by the AAI, whereas the expenditure on the operation, maintenance and repairs would be taken care of by the JVC.

The MP stated that the first phase of the project, which will include development of a new international civil enclave over an area of 135.54 acres for full-fledged operations up to Code-4C type aircraft, is likely to be completed within three years.

Meanwhile, the approval of civil air terminal at the Halwara Air Force base has been welcomed by Ludhiana industry. “It is the fulfilment of a long-standing demand of the Ludhiana industry. Amritsar and Mohali airports are at an unreasonable distance from Ludhiana but Halwara is nearer. There should be flights from Halwara to all.

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