Concerned over shrinking of Shimla airport due to soil erosion and neglect,the newly elected Lok Sabha MP from Mandi Pratibha Singh today made a strong plea to the Union minister for civil aviation Ajit Singh to take steps for protection of the airport and restoring the runway to its original size.
She pointed out that the runway has been reduced to 3800 feet as against 4100 feet (1189 mtr and width 23 mtrs) because of soil erosion over several years. No effective steps have been taken during these years to save the airport.
The airport needs funds to the tune of Rs 142.70 cr for restoration of the basic strip and arresting the soil erosion. A feasibility study,carried out by IIT Roorkee has recommended urgent measures to save the airport. The ministry,so far,has
not responded to the urgency, she complained showing concern of the state government.
She told Ajit Singh that the Airport Authority of India has recently engaged M/S Rites as consultant for exploring measures for restoration and widening of the airstrip of the runway as well as to prevent soil erosion.
Pratibha Singh asked the Union minister to order the pre-feasibility survey for the Kandaghat green field airport,a proposal which the state government had mooted sometime back in order to have a bigger airport. She demanded more flights to Shimla,Kullu and Kangra airports to meet the demands of the high end tourists and the visiting dignitaries in the state.