Extension of Jammu Airport runway

By application of the standards of a modern airport and the associated facilities for the passengers, Jammu Airport is lagging far behind looking to the importance of the winter capital city in more than one forms right from the angle of connectivity between its regions and with rest of the country as also it being a prominent tourist spot of general, religious and adventurous categories. Some overall improvement , additions and alterations have been made but they cannot be called as sufficient. The number of flights between Jammu and other cities, both exclusive and connected, have increased over the years numbering more than thirty on daily basis. It has been long felt that for landing and taking off of big aircraft, usually airbuses and of B-321 category etc, the runway is not adequate in length being only of 2042 metres.
Not that the authorities concerned were not seized of the matter but the project to have the runway of the standard size of 2438 x 45 metre faced hiccups and was held up due to environmental clearance. The project needs more land for the purpose, nearly 17 acres, which is learnt to be acquired from the Indian Air Force. However, it is heartening to note that Airports Authority of India (AAI) has succeeded in getting the environment clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.
The proposal for grant of environment clearance for undertaking the runway extension and improvement work at Jammu Airport was pending with Experts Committee of the Union Ministry and since many considerations and clarifications of vital issues concerning the project had to be put forth and put to several layers of tests and verifications, the seemingly a bit of more time got expended which we hope could not be entirely avoided. It is not that the approval and clearance obtained is absolute as certain conditions for strict compliance have been made an integral part of the clearance. The role of the State Pollution Control Board under the relevant provisions of prevention of pollution in respect of the project is specified. Anyway, the development in the subject matter is welcome which though was much awaited, would now pave the way for clearing decks for enabling operations of the large sized aircraft on the (extended and refurbished) runway of this airport which is expected to be completed by the same period next year.
For every development and modernisation measures , associated risks and hazards cannot altogether be eliminated. In the instant case, the immediate challenge is that of the noise component which needs to be controlled to be kept to the barest possible minimum and should not exceed the prescribed period. This is to be kept in mind not only for the residents of the areas in the immediate periphery of the airport but for the travelling public waiting in already overcrowded waiting lounges to board the planes. Needless to add, disaster management provisions and arrangements in cases of emergencies have to be kept on priority and is one of the basic conditions of the runway extension proposal clearance.. Planting green belt and its development alongside the airport with special care to planting those trees which could not provide scope for bird nesting and pose bird hit comprise the broader requirements to be achieved under the runway extension project. Now that the main impediments and hitches in the implementation of the project are over, it is hoped that the timeline of June 2020 would be met with for construction of the new extended runway for the Jammu Airport.