Jammu Airport runway expansion

By now, Jammu Airport runway with expansion plans duly executed on it, would have been ready for operation but like many prominent projects across the country especially which are labour intensive in nature, became the victims of the cruel COVID-19 pandemic conditions, Jammu Airport too lagged behind in touching the fixed timeline. It may be recalled that due to constant addition in the turnover of passengers flying to different destinations from and to Jammu Airport, increase in the number of aircraft especially heavy airbuses landing at and taking off from the airport, the need to expand its existing length of runway from 6700 to 8000 ft was felt for quite some time and the work on it was duly started. However, due to non availability of construction aggregate like stone and sand on account of ban on mining along river beds in Jammu by the Pollution Control Board and the High Court and erratic or insignificant number of labour force, the deadline slated for its completion could not be kept. Reports are that out of the total work proposed to be carried on the Airport , only 60 percent has been completed and allied works on the runway remained suspended since December last because of the non availability of the requisite inputs. At the outset, we may reiterate that apart from making the runway longer which would definitely help hassles free landing and taking off of aircraft of various operators, entry and exit system and facilities for the passengers at the Airport need a lot of improvement for which matching renovating works are needed.
In respect of the ongoing works on the runway, if conditions improve about which there are all the possibilities as due to the currency of the pandemic normal activities cannot any longer be afforded to be deferred, the new date of completion could be around before the middle of the next year as much of the core work which takes more time, has already been completed. We feel there should be a mechanism that while proposing a ban on illegal things and activities which are no less than looting natural sources like the fragile river beds where stones, sand and other material are wantonly mined, some provision for Government contractors and licensed extractors should be there so that non availability of the construction material for critical Government projects could be avoided and the projects completed in time. The Government and its agencies should have to this extent submitted its viewpoint before the court as also the PCB in time for extending relaxations for Government owned projects and the contractors associated therewith.
Better late than never, this important issue was taken note of only in February last for allowing extraction of some quantity of mineral for the work but that having been found insufficient proved of no avail denoting the ”indent” was not properly calculated and presented to the concerned department allowing such extraction. Rest of the spoilsports was ‘heartlessly’ played by the villainous COVID. Still, withas much as half the required labour, whatever work is done so far should not get unnoticed. However, Instrument Landing System (ILS), a modern and foolproof landing aide guiding accurate descent and thus proper landing of aircraft is likely to be commissioned soon and the rest of the minor works here and there attended to in full would result in the Airport carrying with it and wearing a look of a modern Airport with all the ancillary facilities for the travelling public. The importance of Airports in the very near future is going to assume tremendous importance looking to the vast potential of air traffic and the propensity of the people to spend even more to get benefits of saving time, reaching destinations faster and enjoying travelling comforts.


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