The expansion work of Jammu airport is long overdue. The need having been felt by the State Government in entirety, resulted in its completing all the required formalities like transferring 138 kanals of forest land to the army at Sunjwan for non- forestry use in exchange of the land under its occupation adjoining the airport which is slated to be used for the much needed and awaited expansion of the airport at Jammu.
It is, however, a matter to be rued that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has yet not appeared to have taken a decision to authorize the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for starting the much needed work of expansion of the airport culminating in sending a fresh reminder by the state administration to the concerned authorities in the Ministry requesting for taking an early decision. Many a problem in our system are there because timely decisions are not taken and delays, deferments and postponements add to the gravity of the problems besides causing economic constraints and last but not the least, discomfiture to the general public.
Needless to add, but the relevance to the matter demands a mention, that one of the causes of the economic under development of most of the developing countries has roots in the inordinate delays caused in taking timely decisions. The state administration has shown good response in facilitating the early starting of the work by paying more than Rs.7 crore to the Army authorities as due compensation for the utilities, which are to be razed on the land adjoining the airport during the expansion works but the Ministry of Defence has not shown positive response for directing the AAI to go ahead with the designated work. While the AAI is reported to be in all readiness to start the work of expansion on the Jammu airport, it has on the other hand, not received the requisite “go ahead”. All the clarifications and queries from the MoD have been duly responded to and replied by the State Government and as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, had clarified that the ownership of the alternate land will remain with the Forest Department but the Army shall be free to make use of the same as per the changed land use.
Even after five months of the last communiqué sent, the MoD has yet not reverted to the State Government making it to send another reminder and a request to accord early permission to AAI to start the work. It is all the more a matter of concern that the avoidable stalemate persists despite all the issues raised by the MoD having been resolved in the meetings convened by the Prime Minister’s Office. The Jammu airport runway is in pressing need of expansion in length to make it a proper runway for landing and taking off, of all types of aircraft handling passenger travel and cargo with added load and capacity. It is fervently hoped that an early permission shall be granted to the AAI by the MoD to expedite the project.