Rescind decision of 15 days closure of Jammu Airport


Laying of two top DAC -2 layer on the runway surface of Jammu Airport undoubtedly may have its own significance and even urgency but while doing it whether collateral problems likely to emerge of huge dimensions can be afforded to be ignored. This work as per reports was of 15 days duration and the proposing by the Indian Air Force of the closure of the domestic Airport for the said purpose for as many days is fraught with untold inconvenience to the passengers, tourists, travel agents, administrative machinery and the like. COVID-19 pandemic related huge constraints and restrictions have already brought in the wake huge toll of passengers movement, operation of civil aviation services, associated vast commercial activities and other losses and when situation is progressively inching back to normalcy, all of a sudden total closure of the Airport would result in overall loss in crores of Rupees plus disturbing the entire equilibrium of flight operations and associated activities. Needless to add, there are around 40 scheduled civil flights presently operating from Jammu Airport with connectivity linked to Srinagar, Leh, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc which are slated to be stopped for more than two weeks should this temporary closure of the Jammu Airport materialise. We do not dispute the requirement of the job on the runway to be done as last time too, it had to be postponed on similar reasons as also every time the job cannot be afforded to be postponed as it has got to be undertaken come what may sooner than later but cannot the idea mooted be given a practical shape after agreeing in principle that the same work can very efficiently rather more conveniently be undertaken during late evening hours and during nights instead of during daytime? We see how blacktopping of busiest roads in cities is undertaken and assigned or target patches ”done in full” during nights to the entire delight of people who see the same ready and complete by early morning. In this connection, we, however, appreciate the efforts of the Director, Civil Airport, Jammu in taking up the matter with the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir who may within a few days take up the matter with the Union Defence Minister who alone can take a final decision and pass suitable instructions to the IAF. However, it needs to done all well in time as the proposed dates of closure of March 6, 2021 to March 20, 2021 are drawing near. Any delay would cause tremendous problems to passengers in cancellation and re-booking of tickets and rescheduling their already pre-arranged programmes. What is laid stress upon is that any developmental work undertaken of how so much importance should cause minimum dislocation and discomfiture to people. In the instant case, however, both the entities need to be given equal treatment which implies that during daytime there should be no hindrance or restrictions to operation of normal flights and passenger traffic should not in any case get adversely impacted. We feel it pertinent to point out that the damage to economic activities and the economy in general caused due to the Corona pandemic needs to be ”repaired” by employing all means at disposal and any activity even if laced with long term advantages but causing dislocation or stoppage of any economic activity even temporarily must be avoided as far as possible. The decision of causing closure of 15 days of the Jammu Airport, therefore, merits review, reconsideration rescinding at an early date.