Jammu Airport Terminal expansion project likely to be completed by year end

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, May 16: The much delayed work on expansion and modernization of Jammu Airport Terminal building is likely to be completed by the end of this year as around seventy percent work of the project has been finished even as there has been no progress with regard to handing over of 27 kanals of adjoining State land to the Airport Authority of India despite depositing of compensation for the same in 2008.
The new Arrival Building, where the ongoing work is near completion, will be commissioned within next two weeks after which the work on Departure complex will be taken up by converting existing Arrival block into Departure, official sources informed the Excelsior.
With the completion of this Rs 80 crore modernization and expansion project, the total area of the Jammu Airport Terminal building will get expended from 6500 sq meter to 14500 sq meters with raised Pax capacity from 360 to 720 passengers per hour besides additional facilities like escalators, shopping complex at arrival as well as departure hall, sources added.
It may be recalled that following clearance of the Defence Ministry, the much awaited work on the expansion of Jammu Airport was taken off in December 2013 with razing of old structure like Cargo complex, CRPF pickets, parking lots etc for subsequent extension of the runway and raising of new structures, including terminal building from three sides.
However, the pace of work remained frequently hit because of Jammu Airport being operational and hypersensitive. The Airport handles daily 40 flights, arrival as well as departure, and carrying out expansion work by merging the existing complex in free flow of movement with extra-ordinary precautions associated with regard to safety measures, is not an easy job, sources explained.
Free flow of VIP movement by the high profile people during the State Assembly elections in November-December 2014 and Lok Sabha elections in the month of April-May 2014 besides unprecedented floods in September 2014 had severely hit the expansion work.
According to Director Jammu Airport, D K Goutam, additional men and machinery have already been pressed to ensure that work on modernization and expansion of the Airport Terminal is completed by the end of December 2016 notwithstanding the constraints associated with an operational Airport. “Around 70 percent work has been completed and we are hopeful to get the project completed timely,” he added.
However, on the other hand, there has been no progress in handing over 27 kanal State land, adjoining the Airport premises, to the Airport Authority of India with the result that much needed projects of car parking and installation of security apparatus are not being taken up. “Despite depositing of Rs 5.32 crores as compensation to the State in 2008, the AAI has not been provided possession of the land acquired from the locals for the reasons best known to the State administration,” sources said.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said that the land could not be handed over to the Airport Authority of India due to non-availability of funds for developing the area near Belicharana, earmarked for shifting the affected families. “Even as the AAI has deposited compensation money and the State Government has also allotted alternate plots to the affected families, the identified area is yet to be provided the basic facilities like road, flood protection wall, electricity supply etc for which funds are to be provided by the Government,” he explained.