Defence Minister, Mr. Manohar Parrikar, who arrived here on a two visit to the state, called on Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed this evening.
During their meeting, which was also attended by senior officers of the State Government and Ministry of Defence, the two leaders discussed several strategic issues related to prevailing security situation in the State.
The Chief Minister took up with the Defence Minister matters related to civil aviation which included allowing night-landing facilities at Srinagar Airport and expansion and development of Jammu and Kargil Airports. He also highlighted the need for creating parking bay facilities at the strategically-located Leh Airport.
The sorting out of civil aviation issues will pave way for operation of additional flights to J&K which will go a long way in bringing down spiraling air fares during peak tourist season.
Mufti Sayeed also impressed upon Manohar Parrikar the urgent need to expand Jammu Airport, which is inadequate to handle additional flight operations. He said State Government will facilitate removal of bottlenecks in transfer of land to the Airport Authority of India, paving way for its expansion.
With inflow of pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra increasing every year, the Jammu Airport requires expansion and up-gradation for increasing intake capacity and improving facilities for the passengers.
Mufti Sayeed also raised the issue of entrusting maintenance of National Highways in J&K, especially Srinagar-Jammu (NH1-A) and Batote-Kishtwar-Sinthan, with Border Roads Organization (BRO).
In his meeting with DG BRO yesterday, the Chief Minister had laid emphasis on having a single chain of command for maintenance of the vital Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, some patches of which are in a very critical condition.
The Chief Minister also raised the issue of removing restrictions on making Industrial Estate, Ompora, in Budgam functional. The issue of enhancement of compensation on account of death or injury due to operation of field firing ranges was also discussed.
Mufti Sayeed also raised the issue of reconciling excess land presently with the Army. He said an institutional mechanism has to be put in place between the officials of State Government and the MoD so that the issue is resolved in a time-bound manner.
The Chief Minister made a special request for vacation of Toto Ground by the Army, which is in the heart of the summer capital, so that civic facilities are developed in the larger public interest. He also raised the issue of transfer of Khurbathang Plateau to LAHDC, Kargil.
The issue of enhancement of rentals for land in possession of the Army was also discussed in the meeting.
The Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister early positive consideration by his Ministry.