Special Correspondent

Chief Minister told to take up the matter with Manmohan Singh

They said basic purpose of starting flights from Amritsar was to de-congest Delhi airport

CHANDIGARH: A delegation of Punjab Ministers, MPs and MLAs on Monday demanded intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to ensure continuance of international as well as domestic flights at Raja Sansi Airport in Amritsar where expansion work needs to be completed at the earliest.

According to an official release, the delegation led by Ratan Singh Ajnala, MP, and Information and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal requesting him to take up the matter with Dr. Singh and Mr. Patel. In a joint representation, they pleaded that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry immediately lower the landing charges for flights in Amritsar. The delegation said the basic purpose of starting international flights from Amritsar was to de-congest Delhi airport as 29 per cent of the international air traffic there was from Punjab. They expressed concern that the Civil Aviation Ministry levied Rs.1.54 lakh and Rs.94,000 as landing charges per flight in Amritsar from Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways as compared to Rs.75,000 and Rs.69,000 respectively at Delhi airport, thus making the business unviable. The legislators from the border districts also brought to the notice of the Chief Minister that expansion work at the airport was to be completed by October 31, 2008, at an estimated cost of Rs.140 crore, but not even 40 per cent work had been undertaken.