Tribune News Service
Mandi, December 8
Uncertainty looms over the proposed international airport at Balh in Mandi district because of technical hurdles as well as high cost of construction. The land of Balh valley is fertile, which has a high market value.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, talking to mediapersons while inaugurating a newly constructed bridge near Victoria Bridge over the Beas in Mandi here today, said the government was planning to construct 3,100 metre-long airstrip so that big aeroplanes could land. The land acquisition would cost around Rs 2,500 crore, which was a costly affair. Now, the government was planning to select a new site so that the construction could be started in time.
Thakur said, “I want to construct an international airport in Mandi district. The state government had talks with the Aviation Ministry, Tourism Ministry and Finance Ministry and we got a positive response.”
“The state government has conducted a detailed survey of the project in the Balh valley. During assessment, it was found that the market value of agriculture land is quite high. The government will have to pay over Rs 2,500 crore as compensation to the farmers. Apart from this, there are a few other technical hurdles. The government is also looking for another site,” he said.
On the comments of senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar regarding gang-rape incidents, the CM said the state government was much concerned about the safety of women. The Kotkhai gang-rape case was already in the court and the CBI was investigating it.
Presiding over a review meeting on development projects being executed in Mandi district, the CM directed officers to complete these in time to avoid cost of escalation.
The government was committed to ensuring the balanced development of every part of the state with a special emphasis on development of those areas which had remained neglected due to one reason or the other.
Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated a building of the office of the Deputy Director, higher education, constructed by Himuda at a cost of Rs 1.58 crore.
MP Ram Swaroop Sharma, MLAs Anil Sharma, Vinod Kumar, Inder Singh Gandhi, Rakesh Jamwal, Jawahar Thakur and Hira Lal and general secretary, Child Welfare Council, Payal Vaidya, were present.
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