AAI, AF installing SALS for better visibility at Airport

Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday was informed that Airports Authority of India and the Air Force have taken up the issue of setting up of Simple Approach Lighting System (SALS) to increasing the visibility at Srinagar “international Airport”.

Hearing a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation, the high court on previous hearing had ordered that SALS be set up forthwith as a “stop-gap arrangement.”

“As a stop gap measure, it has been suggested by the Air Force and the Airports Authority of India that 300 metres of land, which is available within the boundary before runway 31, could be utilized for setting up a SALS. If this is done, the minimum visibility would be reduced from 1300 metres to 1000 metres. This arrangement be implemented immediately,” the court had said.

The Deputy Commissioner Budgam also submitted a report to enable AAI to take a call on installation of CAT-I approach lights to compliment the instrument of landing system for preventing frequent cancellation of flights, especially during winters, at the airport, a joint military-cum-civil airfield.  

The survey data of the lower land beyond the boundary wall has been supplied by the deputy Commissioner Budgam to the AAI, the court was informed. Assistant Solicitor general of India Tahir Majid Shamsi on behalf of the Air Force submitted that he has received the information and same has been submitted to AAI which would be examining the same.

He has requested that the matter be listed after two weeks so that full details can be made available to the court.

The Air Force and the Airports Authority of India are to submit report regarding the feasibility of utilizing that land. 

The airport has the ILS facility for ‘runway-31’ towards Budgam but there is no approach lighting system to complement it. 

If approach lighting system was installed for runway-31, then the minimum visibility would be 800 meters and this would ensure smooth landing of flights at the airport during the winters, the court was informed. 

 “The problem for runway-31 is requirement of 900 meters of land and only 300 meters of ‘levelled land’ is available while other 600 meters of land is of lower level,” the court had observed on previous hearing and directed the AAI to examine the land after making survey on spot along with deputy commissioner Budgam. 

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation that it has initiated on its own motion, seeking to provide necessary facilities to passengers travelling to and from Kashmir by air.

 The PIL was initiated by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and on December 14, Chief Justice had directed its registration as suo-moto PIL. In this petition, the judge noticed that the AAI has, prima facie, failed to take notice of hardships and difficulties being regularly faced by the people, who travel to and fro Kashmir by air.

 In this PIL, the judge noticed that the AAI has, prima facie, failed to take notice of hardships and difficulties being regularly faced by the people, who travel to and fro Kashmir by air.

The judge also noticed that the authorities have, prima facie, failed to take appropriate remedial measures by upgrading the lighting system and installing the required gadgets at the Srinagar airport and, consequently has failed to discharge public duty.


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