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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Day before inaugural Delhi-Sawai Madhopur flight, police say airport unfit

The district police chief says the airport’s boundary wall is broken at many places and there are babool trees all over the wall.

jaipur Updated: Apr 10, 2018 21:21 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Jaipur, Hindustan Times
Copy of the letter the superintendent of police sent to the additional director general of police (intelligence).
Copy of the letter the superintendent of police sent to the additional director general of police (intelligence).

The Sawai Madhopur airport was on Tuesday declared unfit for regular flight operations, a day before the first flight from Delhi was scheduled to land there.

The message was conveyed by Sawai Madhopur superintendent of police Maman Singh in a letter to the state intelligence chief on Tuesday. The district police chief wrote the airport’s boundary wall was broken at many places and there are babool trees all over the wall.

HT has a copy of the letter the SP sent to the additional director general of police (intelligence) on Tuesday.

“Stray cattle move freely at the airport and people living in its neighbourhood use the airport as passage. Towards Chakchainpura village, the boundary wall is completely broken and farm houses and cow shelters have opened their gates into the airport,” the SP has written.

“In view of passengers’ safety, the airport in its present form is unfit for regular flights, although sometimes chartered flights operate from here,” the letter said.

Sawai Madhopur district collector KC Verma accepted the boundary wall was broken and there were encroachments on the airport land. “But we have got a budget for the repair of the boundary wall and will start work on that soon,” he added.

Verma said there was a budget of Rs 311 lakh for repair and construction at the airport. “We will take the civil work concurrently with the operation of flights,” the collector said.

Air connectivity in Rajasthan has taken a big leap in last few months with flights starting from smaller cities such as Bikaner, Kota and Jaisalmer.

The Rajasthan government is launching flights from Sawai Madhopur to increase the footfall at the Ranthambore tiger reserve. At present, the nearest airport is in Jaipur, 170 km away.

Inter and intra-state air services between Kota-Jaipur-Delhi, Delhi-Kishangarh, Ganganagar-Jaipur-Delhi and Jodhpur-Ahmedabad too have been proposed. The Union civil aviation ministry is fostering regional connectivity through its UDAN programme.

An official of the state’s civil aviation department said Supreme Airlines will operate a 9-seater flight between Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur beginning April 11.

The Sawai Madhopur SP has also sought two platoons of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary for security arrangements at the airport. “In the district police, 227 posts of constables/ head constables are vacant and the district’s law and order situation is always sensitive because of communal and caste tensions. It is impossible to provide security at the airport from the district pool of police,” the letter said as it demanded RAC officers.