Four years after Punjab government started the process to set up a flying training academy (FTA) in Faridkot,the project has hit another air pocket.
The ambitious plan,which was launched in 2008 by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and hit turbulence in every area, right from acquisition of land to getting a clearance from the Defence authorities,was finally grounded by the Punjab and Haryana High Court by an order issued on July 16.
The state government may appeal against the order butt is keeping fingers crossed. Contacted,Deputy Commissioner,Faridkot,Ravi Bhagat said,I have suggested to the state government to go in for an appeal. The government can file a caveat. Lets see what happens.
Meanwhile,the court has also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the SDM who had overlooked the rules while acquiring the land for the FTA. The court has also asked the state government to conduct an inquiry into the matter and file a report on why rules and regulations were flouted by the government officials.
Notably,the government had acquired 103.4 acres of land belonging to the erstwhile Faridkot royals and was managed by the Mehrawal Khewaji Trust. The land housed the personal airport of the rulers of Faridkot,before being converted into a forest.
The state government,while acquiring this land in 2009,had paid Rs 2 lakh per acre to the trust. A total of Rs 3.50 crore was paid to the district administration to be handed over to the trust in lieu of the land.
However the trust refused to take the money and instead approached the court to cancel the land acquisition. Meanwhile,last year ,in a letter to the Punjab Civil Aviation Department,the then officiating administrative commandant of the Faridkot cantonment said the FTA poses a potential threat to the security of the cantonment and an ammunition depot located inside it.
FTA also faced protests as hundreds of trees will be cut to create space for it.