Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Cong, industrialists slam Centre over stopping Delhi flight

Officials say FAA downgraded India in part because some pilots lacked sufficient training. (Photo: PTI) Industrialists were demanding an increase in the frequency of the flight.
Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Posted: May 30, 2014 12:09 am | Updated: May 29, 2014 11:43 pm

Withdrawl of the lone to and fro Ludhiana-Delhi flight of Air India from Sahnewal domestic airport has come as a rude shock for the industrialists who had rather been demanding an increase in the frequency of this flight. The decision was taken on Wednesday.

While industrialists feel that it was the immediate reaction of the Central government for choosing a Congress MP, Ravneet Singh Bittu said that it was the perfect example of the BJP’s “achchhe din aane wale hain”.

The lone domestic flight from Sahnewal to Delhi and back was running on alternate days from Ludhiana on Wednesday, Friday and Monday. The industrialists had been demanding that it should run on a daily basis.

Cabinet minister Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon and MLA of Sahnewal had held a meeting two days back regarding expansion of the Sahnewal airport. “I had held the meeting only to talk about acquisition of more land to double the runway of airport, but I had no idea about stoppage of the flight. We will enquire about the same and I think it is a temporary measure and will be resolved soon,” Dhillon said.

However, Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu has slammed the SAD-BJP alliance over the Sahnewal airport issue, saying as Narendra Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister, the lone flight of Ludhiana-Delhi was discontinued. “Are these achchhe din the SAD and BJP were boasting about? The alliance must explain,” he said.

Former Union minister Manish Tewari had taken the initiative and started flights between Ludhiana and Delhi. To sort out the visibility issue for landing of aeroplanes, Tewari had also taken the initiative to install DVOR at the airport as well, Bittu claimed.

He added that as he had made a promise about establishing an international-level airport in Ludhiana, he would put his demand before the NDA government and make efforts to upgrade the airport into international level.

The industrialists are also not happy with the decision. According to Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation president Gurmeet Singh Kular and secretary Rajiv Jain, Ludhiana has five container freight stations, exports more than 1,200 containers per month and also has an equal number of imports.

Having no air connectivity with New Delhi will result in loss of trade as the overseas buyers and the exporters will have to face a lot of travelling problems by road.

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