LEH, July 8: Advisor Ladakh, Umang Narula attended a meeting under the chairmanship of the Union Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla to discuss various issues pertaining to Ladakh.
The meeting was attended by Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation, Govt of India; Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, J&K; Piyush Goyal, Additional Secretary, MHA; Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary, J&K; Manish Tiwari, Joint Secretary, MHA and Ravinder Kumar, Administrative Secretary, Horticulture Ladakh.
Discussion on varied issues such as operations of a small fixed-wing civilian aircraft to Kargil Airport, use of air-conditioned cargo service for horticulture products and Drip Irrigation were held during the meeting.
Regarding the Kargil Airport, Advisor, Umang Narula apprised the Ministry that Kargill has a civil airport with a runway of 6000 Ft and informed that AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force has been operating during winters at Kargil airport for passenger services. He further apprised that there is ample scope of expansion of the existing runway.
Advisor Narula requested the Ministry that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) may be asked to send their team to Kargil to conduct a feasibility study of Kargil airport for the operation of bigger aircraft at the earliest.
Furthermore, Narula requested that the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) that SpiceJet may be asked to explore the feasibility of operating the D-8 Q400 Bombardier turboprop aircraft or any other suitable fixed-wing aircraft to Kargil.
Advisor Ladakh further highlighted that the UT Administration of Ladakh has also identified probable locations/sites in Leh and Kargil districts for the development of alternate airport/airstrips and requested the Ministry to send a team of experts to conduct a feasibility study.
Regarding air cargo, UT Administration welcomed the initiative of the Ministry of Civil Aviation for providing subsidised air transport of agriculture and horticulture products under Krishi Udan Scheme. Advisor Ladakh asked the Departments of Agriculture & Horticulture to avail the benefits of the scheme for facilitating the exports of apricot, seabuckthorn, organic vegetables etc.