Ajmer, Bikaner will get airports

Devotees headed for the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer district and Karni Mata temple in Deshnok town in Bikaner district will not have to travel on road — the locations would be connected via air. New airports have been planned and will come up at Bikaner and Kishangarh (in Ajmer) soon. After the new international terminal at the Jaipur airport, the ministry of civil aviation has given nod to develop air strips in Bikaner and Kishangarh into full-fledged airports so that atleast domestic flights could resume there.

There is also plan to set up civil airports at Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Suratgarh, Barmer and Sawai Madhopur. All of these places have landing strips of the Indian Air Force that fall short of accommodating civil flights. With this Rajasthan will soon be on the global map as far as air traffic is concerned. The idea is to connect these areas through air traffic so that tourism and trade potential could be tapped. Bikaner is known for its ancient havelis, palaces and forts, while Kishangarh is famous for marble and stone business. Kishangarh airport will also provide easy access to holy shrine of Khawaja Moinudin Chisti in Ajmer and the Brahma Temple in Pushkar. Union minister of state for civil aviation Praful Patel on Wednesday announced that foundation stone of Bikaner airport would be laid on March 2. He was in the city to inaugurate the new international terminal of Jaipur airport. Meanwhile, the Airport Authority of India (AII) and the state government singed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the air strip at Kishangarh into an airport.

This air strip was used four years ago when former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had visited the Khwaja’s shrine in Ajmer. “Rajasthan has great potential in tourism, marble trade and industries also but there is a need to develop air connectivity. The state government has been asked to prepare a report for setting up airports at five locations where Air Force strips exist. Air connectivity between Jaipur and Jaisalmer will be given priority,” Patel said. He said the state government could develop intra-state connectivity by providing two aeroplanes at the cost of nearly Rs17 crore per year.

Integrated terminal of Jaipur: Patel said that an ‘integrated terminal’ would be set up in Jaipur by joining the present international terminal and the nearby under construction building. He said the old terminal would be used for Haj flights and cargo services. However, to develop the integrated terminal the AAI would need more land in the coming years. During the inauguration ceremony, MP Girdhari Lal Bhargava proposed to name the new terminal after Sawai Man Singh, one of the ancestors of Jaipur royal family. Tourism minister Bina Kak too stressed on developing 16 air strips in the state.

DNA-Daily News & Analysis Source: 3D Syndication