Like the Jammu city, Jammu airport is overcrowded, burdened with passengers, and lacks necessary infrastructure to manage the annual 3 lakh passenger load yearly. Despite repeated promises the airport has remained in bad shape, the expansion plan has remained more in limbo rather than being put to action. No doubt the land dispute with army, and problems with other departments like revenue, power agriculture, and others took their toll on the airport but one has to recall that Airport Authority of India, the army, and other state departments are controlled by the same government which rules India, and that includes Jammu and Kashmir.
Perhaps because of the vested interests in the state, which want to keep Jammu in a state of permanent disrepair certain sections of the state government does not want development to happen but the central government has keep this in mind. It is a positive development but also a sad commentary on the political machinery of the state that the state governor took an aerial tour of the airport area to understand the issues and bottlenecks involved in the expansion. In a separate meeting, the Governor also too stock of the entire project, gave timelines to senior officers and asked them to get the work done. The governor’s meeting also revealed that nothing has been done by respective state governments to complete this project. Despite the fact that this airport handles record number of passengers every year, who are on the rise the airport is ill equipped to handle even the current load. There is perennial chaos inside it, and outside on the road which also leaves a very bad impression on thousands of pilgrims who come to Jammu from across the country, and the world. The expansion of the runway from 6700 feet to 8000 feet which is needed for wide-bodied heavy aircraft to land at the airpot has been delayed for years. An alternative road needed for the airport to connect with the city has also remained in the doldrums.
Hopefully, the directions by the governor will change the state of things, and as usual it would be the central rule which will bring development once again in Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever development or transformation has happened in Jammu province, it took place under successive governor’s as politicians repeatedly failed the people.