He says it should be extended by another 350 m at least
‘Another 50-acre land may have
to be acquired'
‘The 2,450-m Mangalore airport is quite safe'
MANGALORE: Former Union Minister B. Janardhana Poojary on Monday urged the Union and State Governments to take immediate steps to making the runway at Mangalore airport safer. He also demanded that a memorial be built at the airport for the victims of the Saturday's air crash.
Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Poojary cautioned the activists against harming the very existence of the airport at Mangalore and put the development clock backwards for the region, where a special economic zone was coming up and a Petroleum Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) was proposed. He was referring to litigations over the runway filed by a Bangalore-based activist.
He said, all efforts were made to find a flat land to avoid building a table-top runway, three decades ago. But such a land was not available.
‘It is safe'
He maintained that the 2,450-m runway was quite safe as it had witnessed more than 32,000 take offs and landings in the last four years.
Mr. Poojary demanded its extension by another 350 m. Civil Aviation Ministry had already announced plans to extend it by about 300 m. Although the airport had sufficient land at its disposal to extend it by 300 m,
Mr. Poojary said that about 50 acres of land would have to be acquired to ensure that runway was extended by 350 m.
He urged Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to quickly pay a visit to the airport and direct the Deputy Commissioner to acquire land. The Civil Aviation Ministry should act quickly to extend the runway by 350 m. These measures would instil confidence among the air passengers, Mr. Poojary said.
The Centre might have to spend an additional Rs. 20 crore to fill up a valley. “It is nothing for the Government of India. The State Government, which was doling out huge sums to religious institutions, can pitch in too,” he said.
Mr. Poojary claimed that he had sought extension of the runway in 2006 as a member of Parliament Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism, and had even written to Mr. Patel in this regard. Asked why this had not happened in the last four years, Mr. Poojary said, “Mr. Patel should be assertive.”
Mr. Poojary lauded the volunteers, who had selflessly put in lot of efforts during the rescue operations.