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AMONG SEVERAL suggestions to provide basic facilities at the Chandigarh International Airport, a team of advocates has suggested to the Punjab and Haryana High Court that to avoid any objection by Punjab or Haryana, there is a need for installing a large signboard at the airport entrance reading ‘Chandigarh International Airport’ in large font and ‘Limited’ in small font.
The suggestion has mainly come from the amicus curiae (advocate appointed to assist court) M L Sareen since the airport is being managed by CHIAL (Chandigarh International Airport Limited).
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During the previous hearing, the court had observed that the word “international” had been omitted from the name of the airport at the entrance. But when the team of advocates made a visit to the airport on October 2, CHIAL officials told Sareen “there was uncertainty regarding the name of the airport due to a non-decision by the government of Punjab and Haryana as well as by the Union Territory of Chandigarh.” The amicus curiae is of the view that since both Punjab and Haryan are shareholders through Greater Mohali Area Development Authority and Haryana Urban Development Authority, they would not have any objection it the airport board reads ‘Chandigarh International Airport’ in large font and ‘Limited’ in small font.
About other discrepancies found by the team of advocates, the court was informed that there was inadequate information on display for passengers to learn about the status of their flights both at the time of departure and arrival. It was informed that there was no Wi-Fi facility at the airport due to the fact that the tender process was still in process and it was suggested that airport personnel should personally approach reputed firms for providing this facility.
The team also observed that the airport does not have the inline baggage screening system after checking in of the passengers due to the high cost of Rs. 8 crore. It has also been observed that the baggage trolleys though are positioned at both ends of the arrivals but were not reachable easily by passengers. Out of four planned lounges, one is operational as of now and others also need to be made operational at the earliest, the team said.
It has also come out that the CHIAL’s only source of income is from commercial activities as well as collection of passenger service fee by the airlines which is passed on to the airport but Air India owes around Rs 4 crore to the CHIAL. It was suggested that the funds be released at the earliest so that it could be used for the improvement of facilities at the airport.
Also, it was found that although the annual income of the airport is Rs 39 crore, its expenditure comes to Rs 43 crore and of that, Rs 33.33 crore is spent on provision of security at the airport. During the hearing of the case, advocates also suggested that Punjab and Haryana governments should also share the security bill of the airport. The team of advocates also found that there was one ATM functional at the airport, lack of duty-free shop due to poor response to tender and it was also suggested that as there was just one money exchange counter, there should be more such counters.
The case will now come up for hearing on October 21.