M A I N   N E W S

Hisar, Karnal to have domestic airports
Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Boost to air connectivity
Haryana had applied for setting up five civil airports at Hisar, Bhiwani, Narnaul, Karnal and Pinjore, out of which the Centre approved two
Once the new airports come up, residents of the state would have convenient access to four airports - Delhi, Chandigarh, Hisar and Karnal

Chandigarh, July 31
Politics in Haryana is getting more competitive as parliamentary polls and the 2014 General Election get closer. After hectic lobbying that lasted months, the Centre has cleared two domestic airports at Karnal and Hisar.

As politicians vied to take credit for the development, the Centre said the airport sites were selected on account of technical feasibility, security, aviation needs and other logistics. Both Hisar and Karnal already have flying clubs and the state would not find it difficult to expand them into full-fledged domestic airports.

Other locations were also considered, but rejected on account of difficulties in acquiring land and also since the flight path would have raised security concerns, it is learnt. The setting up of civil airports is part of a Central scheme to improve air connectivity in the country.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told The Tribune that the two airports will be located centrally to cater to the air transport needs of the people as well as the stateís agricultural and industrial needs. He said the airports would boost industry and tourism in the state, adding that state was pressing for an international cargo airport. There was hardly any political lobbying for an airport at Hisar as the parliamentary segment is represented by Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) chief Kuldip Bishnoi, who does not have much say in the UPA government. However, there was hectic lobbying by Kurukshetra MP Navin Jindal to move the proposed airport from Karnal to Kurukshetra, the latter being a hub of religious tourism. Former Finance Minister and Rajya Sabha member Chaudhary Birender Singh was also pushing for an airport at Kurukshetra.

Jindal sought the help of Union Surface Transport Minister CP Joshi to get the airport moved to Kurukshetra, but owing to technical feasibility and difficulty in acquiring land, the project fell through. At one point, Congressí Rohtak MP Deepinder Hooda was keen that the airport come up in Jhajjar district and even suggested Asodha village as a location.

Karnal MP Arvind Sharma had been lobbying to retain Karnal as one of the locations for the civil airport. The argument given by him to the Union Government was that Karnal was mid-way between Delhi and Chandigarh and an airport there would cater to many surrounding districts such as Panipat, Rohtak, Jind, etc. He is also reported to have told the Centre that the Karnal airport would directly benefit Panipatís doddering textile industry.





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