Amritsar-Nanded flight, connecting two Sikh holy cities, flagged off | punjab | amritsar | Hindustan Times
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Amritsar-Nanded flight, connecting two Sikh holy cities, flagged off

The flight was a long-pending demand of Sikh pilgrims from Punjab wanting to visit Nanded, Maharashtra.

punjab Updated: Dec 23, 2017 15:03 IST
HT Correspondent
Vijay Sampla (R), Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik with Air India staff members during the flagging off of the Amritsar-Nanded flight from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar on Saturday.
Vijay Sampla (R), Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik with Air India staff members during the flagging off of the Amritsar-Nanded flight from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar on Saturday.(HT Photo)

Air India on Saturday flagged off the direct flight between Amritsar and Nanded from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar. The flight was flagged off by Vijay Sampla.

The flight was a long-pending demand of Sikh pilgrims from Punjab wanting to visit Nanded, Maharashtra. From Punjab, most pilgrims go for the pilgrimage to Nanded by train, which takes around 48 hours. The launching of the direct flight has been welcomed by the Sikh masses as the journey will now take only two hours .

Nanded’s importance
  • The 10th Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh had made Nanded his permanent abode and passed his teachings before his death in 1708. Sikh temporal seat Takht Sri Hazur Sahib is situated here, where thousands of pilgrims from across the world come to pay obeisance.

Credit wars

The flight, welcomed by Sikh pilgrims, was inaugurated in the midst of a credit-taking war between Congress Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik.

Claiming that he made efforts to ensure this flight starts, Aujla broke the news about Air India starting the flight and also released its schedule. Refuting this claim, Malik stated that the department of civil aviation came under the jurisdiction of Centre, which is led by BJP, and being a member of BJP he had conducted several meetings with the minister and authorities concerned.

On first day of the flight, both the MPs reached the airport. First, Aujla, along with Congress MLA OP Soni, reached. Few minutes later, Malik, along with Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla, former BJP minister Anil Joshi, senior BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina and SAD urban president Gurpartap Singh Tikka, reached.

Leaders of both parties met inside the airport during a brief cake-cutting ceremony. Former Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti did ‘ardas’ (prayer) on the occasion. “It is the only Union government and its departments that can start or stop flights,” Malik said, targeting Aujla.

“I have been conducting meetings with minister concerned for the past a year. Aujla has claimed that he has met director general of civil aviation (DGCA). He doesn’t know DGCA’s only duty is to look after the affairs of airport,” he added. “It was Congress-led United Progress Alliance (UPA) that sabotaged the Amritsar airport by stopping important flights from here. In view of this, Aujla should apologise.”, he added.

Sampla thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for facilitating the pilgrims from Punjab.

On the other hand, Aujla was amongst the 262 passengers who went to Nanded through flight. The flight left for Nanded at 10.55 am. Pradip Khrola CMD Air India Limited, Pankaj Srivastava Director Commercial Air India Limited, Manoj Sinha Airport Director were also present on the launching ceremony.