Big plans for Rajasansi airport
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

A model of the Golden Temple being installed at Rajasansi International Airport.
A model of the Golden Temple being installed at Rajasansi International Airport. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma 

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has embarked upon an expansion programme for Rajasansi Airport to put it in league with the top international airports in the country.

Work has already begun on the phase II of the master plan to give the airport a new look, with more passenger facilities and increased security features.

Besides giving better amenities to passengers, the cargo handling facility being developed at the airport would prove beneficial for exporters from the region who presently have no alternative but to transport their goods to Delhi.

The AAI recently agreed to hand over 10,000 square metres of land to the Council of Value Added Horticulture for setting up of a permanent perishable cargo centre, on a token money of Re 1 per annum for a period of seven years.

This would catalyse export of perishable goods.

Arun Talwar, Airport Director, said there has been an increase of 40 per cent in the number of international and domestic passengers at the Amritsar airport last year.

The number of international passengers swelled to 4,09,166 and a total of 77,974 domestic passengers flew on different circuits of as many as nine airlines offering their services from Amritsar during 2006.

“The airport is developing at a fast pace and air passengers from the region can look forward to better facilities once the expansion plan is implemented over a period of 7-8 months.

There are already 10 departures per day, which include eight international and two domestic flights,” he said.

Cargo hub

The proposed site for the Permanent Perishable Cargo Centre is located close to the air cargo complex, which has a capacity of 200 tonnes per day.

“The Punjab government has given a go-ahead for setting up of a modern perishable cargo complex for the export of vegetables, fruits and other perishables. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 25 crore,” said Talwar. The temporary perishable cargo complex has separate export and import sections and public transportation area. Constructed at a cost of Rs 2 crore, it is spread over an area of 6,500 square meters and has done a good job in cold chain infrastructure in the region.

The cargo facility development at the Rajasansi Airport is expected to prove a blessing for exporters from the adjoining states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, who have to presently operate from Delhi and have to go through the ordeal of transporting their produce to distant airports.

The Rajasansi Airport is handling 2,400 tonnes of cargo per year. The AAI has got the custodianship for running the new cargo complex.

Tenders have been floated for giving management contracts for handling the cargo operations.

Equipped to maintain temperatures from 2 to 10 degree Celsius in its six chambers, the perishable centre is catering to a variety of fruits and vegetables and has the capacity to handle 80 tonnes of fresh produce everyday, said Talwar.

The Council of Value Added Horticulture, the body for handling cargo affairs, is presently running the perishable cargo centre.

Exporters for Punjab primarily deal in readymade garments, pharmaceuticals, rice, textiles, yarn, hand tools and leather goods, sewing machines, food products and With Rajasansi Airport slated to become a key cargo hub in northern India, more and more exporters would save the cost of transporting their goods to Delhi, said Talwar.

More area

The total area of the terminal building would be increased to 31,000 square metres, which would be more than double the existing area.

This would provide adequate space for multiple arrivals and security holds. Besides, the airlines operating from the airport would also get more space to run their business. The existing terminal was made operational in February 2006.


As part of the expansion plan, four aerobridges would be set up for the convenience of passengers.

This would save them from the ordeal of traveling in coaches to board their planes, which would to more security as mingling of passengers of different flights would be stopped and there would be separate aerobridges for every ready flight.

More flights

The Rajasansi Airport is already offering international flights to Europe, the Middle-East and America, including destinations like Birmingham, London, Bratislava, Kabul, Dubai, Sharjah, Ashgabat, Tashkant and Moscow.

On the domestic circuit, the Amritsar Airport is linked to Delhi. Airlines have expressed interest to begin more flights on international and domestic destinations and some of the agreements are expected to materialize soon. The passenger traffic at Amritsar has seen tremendous growth in recent years, from 12,000 passengers in 2000-01 to 1,12,000 in 2001-02.

More parking bases

Presently the Rajasansi Airport has a total of five parking bases, which can accommodate as many airplanes. In view of the possibility of more airlines taking off from Amritsar, four more parking bases would be added by the year-end as part of the expansion plan.

“The idea is to provide a more sophisticated and user-friendly parking system that would increase security while continuing to provide better customer service,” said Talwar.

Length of runway

With the airport authorities nourishing the dream to land a Jumbo Aircraft, like the Boeing 747, at the Rajasansi Airport someday, the length of the runway is being extended by 369 meters to a total length of 3,658 meters.

With it, other accessories like the runway lights would also have to be shifted and modified as per the new parameters.

Car parking

A spacious car parking for passengers and visitors also figures in the expansion plan. Till last year, both the terminal and the parking were congested.

Even though the new layout has eased the congestion, there are plans to further expand the parking lots so that there is no shortage of space even after the number of passengers increases manifold, said Talwar.

Religious Tourism

With Amritsar having tremendous potential in religious tourism, trade and commerce, the expansion of the airport would benefit the region as cargo in the shape of agricultural products and other items would find access to neighbouring areas.

The international flights operating from different parts of the world to Amritsar have come handy for Punjabis settled in different countries to visit their hometowns. According to a study, more than 26% of the 45 lakh international passengers from Indiara Gandhi International Airport are from Punjab.



Alarm bells ring for diabetics
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service
An alarming 45-50 per cent of those suffering from diabetes are developing heart disease. This was disclosed by Dr Arun K Chopra, senior consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute in Amritsar.

Dr Chopra said according to world figures, 25 per cent of those suffering from heart disease have diabetes, but in this region the figures were rapidly growing to a level where 45-50 per cent of heart disease patients were diabetic.

Cautioning the people over the sedentary lifestyles, combined with consumption of rich fatty food, the cardiologist said that diabetes had a strong genetic link and this connection was growing swiftly, giving India a disgraceful reputation of being the 'Diabetes Capital' of the world.

Dr Rajeev Khanna, Consultant Endocrinologist, Escorts, elaborating the diabetic link through parents, said if either of the parents was a diabetic there was a 30-40 per cent chance that their children too would develop the disease in their lifetimes. However, if both parents are diabetic their children’s probability to get the disease would be nearly 70-80 per cent, he added. This can be prevented by lifestyle modification (diet and exercise) in up to 55 per cent individuals.

Dr Chopra said the risk of heart attack in diabetic patients was 3 to 5 times higher than normal. In addition to this, other factors like high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol further raises the risk of heart attack by a whopping 15 to 20 times, he added.

According to an estimate in the next 20 years, the situation may turn “extremely grave” as it is predicted that every second family in India would have a diabetic patient. Also the economy would be badly hit by the expenditure incurred on treatment.

Doctors advise that persons above 35 years need to get their risk factors evaluated through check ups.

In another estimate, he calculated that the growing problem of heart disease with an estimated present figure of 10-12 per cent of adult urban population of the city would affect nearly 70,000 out of a total of 13 lakh population. 



Daughter’s lament
P K Jaiswar

On the eve of International Women’s Day, a play ‘Maaien ni main kinnu aakhan’ depicting the deplorable condition of women folk in the men dominated world was staged at Naatshala by the Rangtoli here.

The play focusing on the pitiable condition of the women was the collage of stories of famous writers including Amrita Pritam, Tausif and Pali Bhupinder Singh. Dr Neeta Mohindra, director of the play said that she had tried her best to break ‘myth’ saying the woman are better half of men. She said although the women were considered to be the ‘Ardhnarishwar’ in the religions but the truth was opposite to it.

In the play the director tried to attack the mentality and the thinking in which the people considered the women as a thing of lust and inferior to men although various religions measured her as pious and worshipped. The artists presented the play with meticulous and lively way. Dr Mohindra said that though various stories written by famous writers barring of boundaries of language, but they all focused on the main problem of women. She said that although the world entered in the 21st century and was planning to conquer the universe, but we were still unable to break the age old shackles of bad mentality.

She said women should themselves come forward and fight to free themselves from the old age customs which were responsible for their present condition.



Ex-servicemen rally
Tribune News Service

A mammoth ex-servicemen rally was organized by the Panther Division for the benefit of ex-servicemen at new military station.

The rally was flagged off by Maj Gen KMS Shergill, General Officer Commanding Panther Division and other senior army and civil officers. The rally provided an ideal platform to the ex-servicemen to come face to face with civil official and seek redressal for their grievances.

Numerous stalls and information outlets of various government agencies like agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, fisheries, irrigation, handicrafts, small scale industry and nationalized banks were established to provide first hand information and assistance to them.

The army authorities also disseminated information regarding various schemes like a ex-servicemen contributory health scheme, assured decent rites scheme launched by army for the ex-servicemen.

The main attraction of the rally was a mega medical camp, wherein, services of all types of specialists including eye, ENT, surgeon and cardiologist were made available and medicines were distributed free of cost. The ex-servicemen made full use of the canteen facilities established at the location.

Maj Gen Shergill interacted with the ex-servicemen and exhorted them to work for the betterment of the society and nation as a whole.

The ex-servicemen expressed their gratitude for organising the rally and for hospitality.



Fete in school
Our Correspondent

Tribune News Service
Giving them lots to cheer about, Mamta Niketan Residential School, Tarn Taran, organised its maiden exhibition-cum-fete for students in which baby show, painting competition and a book fair were some of the main events.

Dr Karanjit Singh, a civil surgeon, inaugurated the fete where as many as 400 students of the school participated. Innovative ideas were brought to display in the form of working models. The students presented their models to the chief guest with great enthusiasm and pride.

As many as 50 students participated in the spot-painting competition. The youngsters enjoyed events organised on the stalls like Tambola, computer games, dance and other games. Swinder Singh Pannu and Maninder Pal Singh, the directors of the school managing committee, awarded the winners on the occasion.



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