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Pathankot (Read 4628 times)
Davinder Singh
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Posts: 16
22. Nov 2006 at 07:22
Any news on the development of Amritsar airport?  
Pathankot comes on aviation map  
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service  
Pathankot, November 21
Pathankot city was today connected with the rest of country with air. The Pathankot civil airport was formally inaugurated by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel with which the city would now figure on the aviation map of the country.  
Air Deccan has become the first aviation company to start its operations from Pathankot. It started one flight a day from Delhi to Pathankot and back. The departure time of the flight from Delhi would be 2 pm and it would reach Pathankot at 3.25 pm. From Pathankot, the flight would take off at 3.45 pm and reach Delhi at 5.10 pm. Initially, small planes with a seating capacity of 44 passengers would be pressed into service for Pathankot by Air Deccan.
The inauguration of the airport once again witnessed rivalry among the Congress and BJP leaders to claim the credit for construction and starting operations of the Pathankot civil airport.
The Congressmen, including Mr Patel and Union Minister of State for Industries Ashwani Kumar, addressed a political rally before the inauguration of the airport. At the rally, the Mr Praful Patel gave Mr Ashwani Kumar credit for pressing him into getting the Pathankot airport operated.
Mr Ashwani Kumar read the message of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the rally in which the latter had complimented the Punjab Government for the completion of the airport project.
Mr Kumar claimed that the airport would boost tourism in the adjoining areas of Himachal. He also requested the Civil Aviation Minister to start commercial flights from the Pathankot civil airport.
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Tourism, who was also present at the rally requested the union minister to improve the facilities at the Amritsar international airport that has witnessed a 100 per cent increase in traffic.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Union Tourism Minister, Ms Ambika Soni, who were earlier scheduled to address the rally, however, failed to turn up.
Interestingly, the BJP MP from Gurdaspur, Mr Vinod Khanna, along with his wife Kavita arrived in the first flight along with the Air Deccan MD, Mr GR Gopinath, at about 3 pm.
The BJP workers who had gathered at the airport raised slogans in favour of Mr Vinod Khanna claiming that he should be given full credit for bringing up the airport at Pathankot. An unsavoury situation was created when the supporters of Mr Vinod Khanna and Mr Ashwani Kumar raised slogans in favour of their respective leaders in the airport lounge.
Later, while addressing the official function to inaugurate the airport, Mr Vinod Khanna said the airport was not a demand of the area. However, it was constructed because of his efforts and benevolence of the NDA government.
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, who was also present at the inauguration ceremony said the airport would help boost tourism and trade in the adjoining hill stations of Dalhouise, Chamba, Dharamshala and Palampur.
Mr Ashok Sharma, local MLA, and Mr Bodh Raj, MLA from Himachal, were among other Congress leaders present on the occasion.
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