Shift airport site from Balh: Locals to govt

Proposed site flood prone, says samiti’s spokesperson

Mandi, October 20

Balh Bachao Sangharsh Samiti has urged the state government to shift proposed airport site from Balh valley to Jahu in Mandi as in that case less people would be displaced for the project.

Joginder Walia, samiti’s spokesperson, said for the construction of the airport in Balh valley, around 2,000 families in the area would be displaced.

“A large tract of agricultural land will be covered for this project in Balh valley, which is known as mini Punjab because the land of this area is quite fertile. The state government is not ready to give adequate compensation to farmers losing their agriculture land for the project,” he said.

Walia said during winter season, the proposed site area experiences dense fog, which will pose a challenge for safe landing for aircraft.

“We have sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Sakaghat MLA Inder Singh over this issue and urged him to direct the state government to shift the proposed site of the airport else,” he said.

The Balh Bachao Sangharsh Samiti is assisted by the Himachal Travel Agents Association, Manali, which is in favour of shifting the airport site from Balh to Jahu in Mandi. The reason being cited is that the airstrip at Balh valley would be only 2,150 meter long as per the latest survey by the AAI, while for the landing of big aircraft it requires a 3,150 meter long airstrip.

Budhi Prakash Thakur, chief, HP Travel Agents Association, Manali, said, “We need an international airport in Mandi to help help boost tourism and Jahu is a suitable place for construction of an international airport.” — TNS

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