THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Tuesday impleaded the Railways as a party in the case on Chandigarh International Airport and asked it to explore the possibility of running additional trains from here in view of the airport closure in February next year.
During the resumed hearing of the case on the airport’s infrastructure, a division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Amit Rawal asked the Railways to explore the possibility of running additional Shatabdis from Chandigarh after it was informed that the airport would remain closed because of the ongoing runway re-carpeting from February 12 to 26.
The bench asked the Railways to respond to the suggestion during the next hearing on December 20 and also asked it to explore the possibility of having additional coaches in the existing trains running from here. The Centre has also been asked to submit a status report on the work progress of the runway construction on January 11.
The bench along with the lawyers in the case had visited the airport on December 7 for a ground inspection of the ongoing work, Assistant Solicitor General of India Chetan Mittal said. “The airport closure is necessary for construction of the strain absorbing membrane interlayer (SAMI) or layer 3 of the runway,” he said.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of the Ambala Division Dinesh Chand Sharma told Chandigarh Newsline that northern railway was exploring possible options in view of the 15-day airport closure.
“It has come to our notice that the airport will remain closed in February. We have highlighted this issue to our headquarters and our team is working on it. In next few days, we will provide the details about what has been decided,” he said, adding that they “are expecting some rush during that period”.
He said two months were still left for the airport closure. “We are exploring the options and we will provide best possible facilities to the public,” said Sharma.
There are six Shatabdi trains which operate between Chandigarh and New Delhi on a daily basis. On Tuesday evening, as per the IRCTC booking website, there were over 600 seats still available in one Shatabdi train from city to Delhi on February 12. Over 500 seats were still vacant in one Shatabdi train from Delhi-Chandigarh.