The dream of having an international airport in Balh valley of Mandi district seems to be becoming a reality as the Central government has given in-principle approval for construction of an international airport in Balh valley of Mandi district with the support of Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The approval in this regard was conveyed to Himachal Pradesh Government by Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, after holding a meeting in this regard at New Delhi.
The approval has also been accorded for expansion of three existing airports in the state at Shimla, Gaggal and Bhuntar.
The construction of an international airport in Mandi district has been the dream project of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and he has been making concerted effort to start the project in Balh valley of Mandi distract.
Few months back the AAI had conducted an Obstacle Limitation Survey (OLS) at proposed site for the airport in Balh Valley. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had made an aerial survey of the spot along with the AAI team.
Though the talks of setting up an airport in Balh valley has been going on for past several decades it is for the first time the Central government has given its approval for constructing the airport in Mandi district.
The earlier efforts to construct the airport in Balh valley could not materialize as dense fog during winter months has been a big obstacle in landing and takeoff of airplanes. However, advance gadgets have been developed for carrying takeoff and landing amidst fog with technological advancement.
It was only after Jai Ram Thakur, who hails from Mandi district became the chief minister of the state, the ball was set rolling for constructing an airport in the Balh valley. The CM had already announced constructing an international airport as his dream project.
Jai Ram Thakur after becoming chief Minister of the state has been taking up the case of construction of the airport with the Central government persistently. He has also requested the Central government to sanction Rs 2000 croers for constructing the airport as huge amount would be required for paying compensation to farmers for acquiring land for the airport project.