Chandigarh:The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the Secretary, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the chairperson of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to appear in person in the court on May 30. The court was hearing the case of operation of international flights from the Chandigarh airport. The directions were given by a Division Bench comprising Justices SS Saron and Gurmit Ram during the hearing of the case.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the petitioner Puneet Bali, Mohali Industries Association, demanded inquiry by a high-level authority, like the CBI, in the whole matter. The petitioner’s counsel stated that it seemed that somebody does not want to start the flights from here. He said it needed to be inquired into. The counsel for the IndiGo said that though the airlines (indigo) had submitted the file for Customs clearance on March 29, the same had not been cleared by the Centre. He informed the court that the Punjab Government had cleared the file within a week.
The high court pulled up the Central government agencies responsible for the delay. The court asked the counsels of the Central agencies that “why are you coming here?” The Punjab Government Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal said that the state government had contributed huge amounts to build this airport besides constructing new roads leading to the new airport and creating other infrastructure needed for this. Despite spending so much of money of the people the state was getting nothing in the absence of international flights from here, he added. A PIL was filed by a Mohali Industries Association seeking to start operation of international flights from Chandigarh airport. The airport has been built by spending Rs 1,400 crore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the airport in 2015. The petitioner has submitted that the non-operation of the international flights from airport is causing huge loss not only to the public exchequer, but also to the passenger services, business and industries in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This airport also aimed at reducing the burden on Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and to provide convenient mode of transportation for Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
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