JAMMU, JUN 10: Expressing grave concern over the narrow escape of 137 passengers when tyres of Air India aircraft burst and got deviated from the runway after landing at Jammu airport on Friday, Harsh Dev Singh, chairman JKNPP and former Minister regretted that the government generally wakes up only after the catastrophe has struck. He said that the AI plane got stranded at the runway which had suspended all outgoing and incoming flights to Jammu and disabled the defence forces to operate their fighter jets something that has security implications.
Harsh Dev Singh further rued the extremely hazardous plight of Jammu Airport, whose short and rough runway was not only a nightmare for pilots but posing a serious threat to lives and safety of passengers. He said that the Govt had not only neglected long pending extension of the existing runway at the Jammu Airport from 6700 feet to 8000 feet as repeatedly warned by Aviation experts but also displayed criminal negligence in ensuring proper maintenance of the Airport thus putting the very lives of passengers to jeopardy.
Harsh Dev Singh regretted that the much awaited expansion of Jammu Airport seemed to have gone in a limbo despite Rs. 70 crore having been sanctioned for the project in 2011 under PM’s Task Force recommendations.
Pointing towards the Srinagar Airport which has received focused attention of successive governments with its upgradation as an international Airport by introducing Haj flights also, Singh deplored the raw deal given to Jammu Airport besides leaving the Jammu passengers at the mercy of Almighty. He said that even Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti persistently advocated the installation of Advanced Instrumentation Landing System (AILS) for Srinagar Airport without mentioning a word about the highly vulnerable Jammu Airport.
Making out a strong case for up gradation of Jammu Airport on the analogy of Srinagar Airport, Harsh Dev Singh said that 1.20 crore pilgrims visit Mata Vaishino Devi Shrine every year besides huge rush of other pilgrims and tourists which could further escalate if air traffic facilities are improved.