Finally, AAI gets environmental clearance for extension of runway at Jammu Airport

No hurdle now, project to be completed by June next year: Director
EAC puts some specific conditions for strict compliance

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, June 19: Finally, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received environmental clearance for extension of runway at Jammu Airport from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest. However, some conditions have been put for strict compliance by the project proponent keeping in view certain vital aspects. With this development, the project aimed at allowing operations of the wide bodied aircrafts would get completed by June next year.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that a proposal for grant of environment clearance to the Airports Authority of India for extension of runway at Jammu Airport came up for consideration before the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in the recent past.
Based on the information and clarifications submitted by the project proponent and after detailed discussions on all the issues, the Committee finally cleared the project for grant of vital environment clearance. However, some specific conditions along with other standard conditions as specified by the Ministry early this year were imposed for strict compliance by the Airports Authority of India during the execution of the project.
It has been made clear by the EAC that clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for safety and project facilities and consent to establish/operate for the project from the State Pollution Control Board as required under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 2981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 shall be obtained.
“Mandatory implementation of dust mitigation measures for construction and demolition activities shall be complied with. Moreover, during airport operation period noise should be controlled to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the prescribed period and a monitoring station for ambient air and noise levels shall be provided in the village nearest to the airport”, the EAC has mentioned in its communication.
The Committee has also laid stress on drawing up of onsite disaster management plan to account for risks and accidents. “The onsite plan shall be dovetailed with the onsite management plan for the area”, it has added.
Laying stress on earmarking adequate area for green belt development and landscaping, the Committee said, “the plantation species should be carefully chosen to avoid bird nesting and to improve pollution and noise control measures”, adding “the AAI shall also drawn up and implement a Corporate Social Responsibility Plan as per the Company’s Act of 2013”.
It is pertinent to mention here that an amount of around Rs 1 crore shall be earmarked under Corporate Environment Responsibility for the activities such as bore wells, hand-pumps in surrounding villages, support to local Government schools with respect to sanitation and health, construction of public toilets in the surrounding villages etc.
When contacted, Director Jammu Airport Dr Pravat Ranjan confirmed that environmental clearance has been obtained for the extension of runway and said, “now, there is no hurdle and Airports Authority of India will leave no stone unturned to meet the deadline of June 2020 for the completion of the project”.
“The pending issues of tree felling and structure removals etc would be resolved in the shortest possible time-frame as Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma is holding regular meetings with the concerned authorities in this regard”, he further said.
The Jammu Airport currently handles about 30 operations per day (15 landings and 15 takeoffs and existing runway is of 2042 metre length. The runway is being extended in order to allow the operations of wide bodied aircrafts such as B-321.
The proposed extension length is 396 metre x 45 metre and the total length of the runway after extension will be 2438 metre x 45 metre. The total available land is 134 acres and about 17 acres is being acquired from the Indian Air Force.
According to the sources, Government has already constructed two new canals side by side outside the proposed land and the irrigation canals passing through the proposed land have been diverted. Moreover, 300 KW solar power plant is being installed as a part of green initiative at Jammu Airport for which clearance has already been obtained.