Gaggal airport to be expanded in two phases: Union minister : The Tribune India

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Gaggal airport to be expanded in two phases: Union minister

Gaggal airport to be expanded in two phases: Union minister

The Gaggal airport in Kangra district. File photo



Tribune News Service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, March 21

Indu Goswami, Rajya Sabha MP from Kangra, took up the issue of the expansion of the Gaggal airport in Parliament yesterday.

Airstrip length to be increased to 3.1 km

  • In the first phase, the length of the airport strip will be increased to 1.9 km while in the second phase, it will be expanded to 3.1 km
  • At present, the airstrip is about 1,372 metres long and can only accommodate small 70-seater planes
  • Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore in the Budget
  • The airfares go up as high as Rs 21,000 for a one-way trip from Dharamsala to Delhi during the peak tourist season

Union Minister of State of Civil Aviation Gen VK Singh (retd), while responding to Indu’s question, informed the House that the government had planned to expand the Gaggal airport in Kangra district in two phases. In the first phase, the length of the airport strip would be increased to 1.9 km while in the second phase, it would be expanded to 3.1 km, he said.

The minister said that the survey for land acquisition for the second phase of the project had been completed. An agency engaged by the state government had conducted a social impact survey for both phases.

In another question, Indu asked the government whether the expansion of the Gaggal airport would lead to reduction in airfares for Delhi to Kangra flights. The minister replied that the airfares were market driven and the government neither regulates them nor decides them. “Airlines are free to fix reasonable tariffs under the provisions of Rule-135 of the aircraft rules 1937,” he said.

The state government has planned to expand the Gaggal airport. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore in the Budget for the purpose. Sukhu claims that the airport expansion is a must for the development of tourism in the Kangra valley and other parts of the state.

However, the agency hired by the state government for a social impact survey for the expansion and land acquisition for the airport is facing stiff resistance from local people, whose land was being acquired for the project. They allege that the airport expansion project will uproot a large number of people and render them jobless.

The Gaggal airport sees traffic throughout the year. At present, the airstrip is about 1,372 metres long and can only accommodate small 70-seater planes. As only small planes can land there, the airfares are among the highest in the country. The airfares go up as high as Rs 21,000 for a one-way trip from Dharamsala to Delhi during the peak tourist season.

Sources say that the district administration has sent a proposal to the state government for the acquisition of 105 acres, including about 65 acres of private land, for the project. Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, Nipun Jindal says that the case for the acquisition of 105 acres for the airport expansion has been sent to the state government.

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