Coming to know that the basic facilities at the Chandigarh International Airport are still “less than ordinary”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday directed a team of advocates to carry out an inspection of the airport on Sunday and submit a report on October 5.
The division bench comprising Justices SS Saron and Lisa Gill also appointed senior advocate ML Sareen as amicus curiae to assist the court.
The team including Sareen, petitioner Mohali Industries Association’s senior counsel Puneet Bali and counsels appearing in the court for Centre, Punjab and Haryana governments would be visiting the airport at 4.30 pm on Sunday.
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Taking serious note of the authorities in delaying proper infrastructure and facilities at the Airport, Justice Saron said: “Be frank and candid to say that we can’t run it (airport). Let the land be returned back to the farmers. What for Rs. 1,400 crore have been spent?” When the counsel appearing for the Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL) submitted that though the process for providing facilities was being carried out but it was not finding the bidders, the court said, “bidders will not come if there is no seriousness on your part.”
The court also directed the union Ministry of Defence, concerned authorities of Chandigarh administration and Punjab government to convene a meeting for deliberating upon land acquisition process for the new runway and to submit its report to the court.
Directions were also issued to the Air India to clear its stand as to when it was starting its flights to Singapore and Bangkok since the court was informed that Air India was proposing these flights by March 15, 2017. The Airport authorities were also ordered to inform the court about the utilisation plan of its old building.
The court also directed the Ministry of Defence to submit a status report about the development for recruitment of manpower for manning the airport for longer hours.
Pointing out the lack of seriousness of the authorities, Bali submitted that when a flight is ready to take off for Delhi, a person from Chandigarh airport makes a call on a landline number at Delhi for permission.
He added that in case the call goes unanswered, the flight gets delayed till clearance is given. He submitted that if an international passenger wants to withdraw money at the airport, he would have to come out into the parking area where there is the only ATM. He added that there are no proper eating joints of international standards and no proper sitting place.