Airport not to be shut for CAT-III installation

The Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told that the installation of the CAT-III instrument landing system would not entail the closure of the Chandigarh international airport.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli was told that the CAT-III installation work would be carried out without disrupting the civil flights. The task would be performed between midnight and 4 am, when there were no flights. The Bench was also told that the work of installing CAT-II at the other end would be completed by March 31.

After hearing counsels present in the court regarding airport-related issues, the Bench made it clear that delay regarding the work being carried out at the airport was not acceptable and it was required to be completed within the time specified before the Bench. Taking up the petition filed in public interest on making the airport fully functional, the Bench also made it clear that that there had to be a concrete reason for a delay in the execution of work.

The Bench added that the completion of work at the airport was in the interests of the entire nation. Appearing before the Bench, the Advocates-General of both states assured the court of complete cooperation regarding their share of work and expenditure.

Punjab AG Atul Nanda submitted that the issue was not of the amount required to be spent by the government as part of its share for the installation of CAT-III facility. Nanda said the payment of Rs 60 crore for the Rs 30-crore project was the issue.

Nanda also questioned the necessity of handing over the work to the company which had installed the CAT-II system. Responding to the submission, Assistant Solicitor-General of India Chetan Mittal said the task of carrying out work at a sensitive place could not be handed over to any company due to security reasons. The Bench then suggested the holding of a meeting for resolving the issues. Nanda also sought exemption from appearance for the state Chief Secretary. The Bench was told that the Chief Secretary could not make it because of the ongoing Vidhan Sabha session.

The Bench, during the course of the hearing, was also told that the portion of a building on drainage had been demolished.

Safety concerns were raised during the previous hearing after the High Court was told that construction in the restricted zone was noticed in Behlana, Ram Darbar and the Faidan area of Chandigarh adjoining the Air Force boundary.

What the bench said

After hearing counsels present in the court regarding airport-related issues, the Bench made it clear that delay regarding the work being carried out at the airport was not acceptable and it was required to be completed within the time specified before the Bench.