No closure of Srinagar airport: Antony to Omar22 May 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Defence Minister, A K Antony has written to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah that there will be no closure of Srinagar airport during the tourist season. The up-gradation will go on without closing the civil operation of air traffic from Srinagar airport. In a letter, Mr Antony has conveyed the decision to this effect to Mr. Abdullah who had taken up this issue with the Defence Minister urging for non-closure of the Srinagar airport for civil air operation during the tourist season. Omar had strongly advocated for keeping the airport operational to civil traffic during the current tourist season to avoid any inconvenience to the tourists and the local people. He had suggested improvement of the airport without shifting the civil air operation to Awantipora. Air-force authority had asked for closure of airport for about a month during this season to undertake urgent necessary improvement works and shifting of the civil air operation to Awantipora. The issue was discussed with high level State officers at Srinagar in which they did not agree the idea of closing the airport for the period of one month during the tourist season. However, no decision was taken in that meeting and the Chief Minister took up the issue with Mr Antony. Subsequently, another meeting was held at New Delhi under the chairmanship of Defence Secretary, Pradeep Kumar and represented by Principal Secretary Civil Aviation, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai from the State. The issue was discussed threadbare. Recognizing the Chief Ministerís view point and the concern about the issue, the Defence Minister today conveyed the decision of his Ministry to the Chief Minister, that no closure of Srinagar Airport will take place during the current tourist season. If there will be any dire need of any most urgent repair works, the airport will remain closed for a week in the month of September.