Badal urges Antony to allow direct flight from Sharjah to Chandigarh

New Delhi/ May 4

Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal on Friday called on the Union Defense Minister Mr AK Antony at his office here in South Block urging him to give necessary permission to Air Arabia of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for starting a daily flight to and fro from Sharjah to Chandigarh.

Taking part in the deliberations, the Chief Minister apprised Mr Antony that Air Arabia-the designated Airline of UAE has already applied for the necessary approvals/ clearances for the said flight except the approval from Ministry of Defense (MoD) and it was in a position to commence international operations from Chandigarh within a month of obtaining the requisite approval from MoD. Moreover, the Chandigarh Civil Air Terminal had already been declared as a custom notified terminal and an immigration post under the various provisions of Customs and Immigration Act of the GoI. He also informed Mr Antony that the Ministry of Civil Aviation had already taken up this issue with the MoD to seek its early clearance.

The Chief Minister also asked Mr Antony seeking his personal intervention to direct the MoD to immediately approve the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) already forwarded by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for all the international flights to be operated from Green Field International Airport Ludhiana being set up by M/s Bengal Aerotropolis projects Limited at a cost of Rs 17500 crore. He said the MoD had already given approval for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which has defeated the very purpose of the sanction since International Flights Operate according to IFR and without which the operation of International Flights was not possible during day or night, pending which the project was yet to take off.

Mr Badal also requested the Union Defense Minister to direct the Army authorities to immediately commence the construction of the Service Selection Centre (North) at Ropar, as the state government had recently given 200 acres of prime land and even handed over its possession to them. He also urged Mr Antony to lay its foundation stone at the earliest to enable Punjab-the Sword Arm of India, sending its sons to Armed Forces in conformity with its martial spirit as an age old tradition.

The Chief Minister also urged Mr Antony to inaugurate two NCC Nagars set up by the state Government at Danewala (Muktsar) and Ropar each over an area of six to seven acres involving a total cost of Rs 16 crore, likely to be completed by this May 31. He also requested the Union Defense Minister to visit the prestigious Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Academy, SAS Nagar Mohali to enable its youth to join the Armed Services.

Mr Antony told the Chief Minister that he would soon take up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs GoI for early clearance to start direct flight to and fro from Chandigarh to Sharjah (UAE) besides sorting out the pending issues of IFR soon in order make the Green Field International Airport Ludhiana operational.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Mr SK Sandhu and Special Principal Secretary Mr KJS Cheema.