SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed Airport Authority of India and Indian Air Force to explain whether it requires additional land for installation of “most modern” instrument of landing system (ILS) at Srinagar ‘International’ Airport, a military-cum-civil airfield.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed Indian defence minister to explain as to why CAT-III B approach (latest landing facility) cannot be installed at the Airport.
The directions by the court followed submissions by Anil Bhan, counsel representing Airport Authority of India, that most modern ILS technology which has been installed in some airports of India is ‘CAT III B’.
Tahir Majid Shamsi, counsel appearing for the Indian Air Force, submitted that as of now CAT II has been approved for the Srinagar Airport Base or Aerodrome by the Indian Ministry of Defence.
“You (Shamsi) shall enquire as to whether CAT III B was considered for the airport at Srinagar,” the court said and asked him to file a status report within four weeks.
“On the next date of hearing, a technical person from the Airport Authority of India and also a technical person from the Indian Air Force shall remain present before the Court to explain as to whether there is a requirement of additional land under CAT II ILS approach or CAT -III B ILS approach,” the court said and posted the PIL on July 14.
For the installation of the approach of lighting system by AAI, Shamsi on previous date of hearing, had submitted that there was requirement of more land and present land of 300 meters with the Air Force Station Srinagar was inadequate for installing the approach lighting system and requires minimum of 900 meters.
Responding to the submission, Additional Advocate General B A Dar on behalf of the state government submitted that a joint survey has already been conducted and land identified stands identified.
“Only intent of the AAI is required so that the State proceeds ahead with the acquisition of the additional land,” he said. Amicus Curie Syed Musaib was also present during the proceedings.
The PIL was initiated by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and on December 14, Chief Justice had directed its registration as suo-moto PIL. In this petition, the judge noticed that the AAI has, prima facie, failed to take notice of hardships and difficulties being regularly faced by the people, who travel to and from Kashmir by air.
The judge also noticed that the authorities have, prima facie, failed to take appropriate remedial measures by upgrading the lighting system and installing the required gadgets at the Srinagar airport and, consequently has failed to discharge public duty.