Dhumal wants international airport in Himachal Pradesh

August 24th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 24 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has urged the central government to build an airport with international facilities in the hill state.He said techno-economic feasibility studies had already been conducted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the Balh valley of Mandi district, an official statement said Sunday.

The proposed airport was estimated to cost about Rs.7 billion ($163 million) and would attract globetrotters from around the world, Dhumal said.

At present, the state has three airports - Jubbar Hatti near Shimla, Bhuntar in Kullu district and Gaggal in Kangra district.

Of these three airports, the Shimla airport requires more than Rs.9 billion to upgrade and expand the runway.

Similarly, the Gaggal and Bhuntar runways need Rs.4 billion to create minimum facilities for the landing of bigger planes.

A team of the AAI visited these airports in April this year and held discussions with the state government to cut the cost of the expansion of runways.

Now, the air travel cost on Delhi-Shimla, Delhi-Bhuntar and Delhi-Gaggal is quite high as compared to neighbouring states like Jammu and Kashmir since only small planes could land in these airports.

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