Delay in installation of SALS at Srinagar Airport: HC censures AAI

‘We Will Be Constrained To Bring Your Authorities Before The Court’

D A RASHID
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 19 2017 10:30PM | Updated Date: Dec 20 2017 1:44AM
Delay in installation of SALS at Srinagar Airport: HC censures AAIFile Photo

Miffed over Airport Authority of India for “pulling strings to dismantle the plan of setting up simple approach lighting system (SALS) at Srinagar International Airport,” the High Court on Tuesday asked the authority to comply with its directions. 

“We will be constrained to bring your authorities before the court. Heads will roll. Don’t make invisible what is otherwise visible,” a division bench of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey told Anil Bhan, representing Airport Authority of India (AAI) 

The court directed AAI to proceed with the execution of the required works at Srinagar Airport and not wait for any further direction for doing so.

The bench was hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation seeking operations of flights to continue from Srinagar Airport during inclement weather for which installation of SLSA is must to reduce visibility requirement from 1300 meters to 1000 meters to help landing of flights.

The installation of SALS has not made any headway so far as AAI says the process for its installation should be undertaken by Air Force and the funds for it will be provided by AAI. 

In its status report Air Force has however pointed out that the installation of SALS is a specialized work which only few firms such as M/s TATA, SED AMA undertake.

The Air Force said that its military engineering services (MES) has expressed its inability to undertake the work of SALS installation as they do not have expertise to handle such specialized projects.

“For execution of works, the user in present case AAI is required to forward the proposal directly to MES Engineer In Chief Bureau, Kashmir House Bajaj Marg New Delhi which is the apex body of MES organization,” reads the report filed by Assistant Solicitor General of India, Tahir Majid Shamsi, on behalf of Air Force. 

In the execution of such works, the Air Force said, its role is confined only to the provision of defense land for such proposed works.

The Air Force said the installation of aviation infrastructure requires to be handled by specialized firms which can monitor the work services to meet special requirements of such infrastructures.

It said in the recent past Air Force has directly contracted with M/s TATA (Strategic Electronic Division) for undertaking such special projects like MAFI at all IAF bases.

The court however directed AAI’s counsel Anil Bhan to file response to the reply of Air Force after he made submission for the same. Other counsels, it said, can file response if they choose for it. 

On February 28 this year, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) initiated by the court on its own, the High Court had directed the AAI to inform it about the steps taken to provide necessary facilities to passengers travelling to and from Kashmir by air.

The court had also sought to know the facilities being provided to the passengers who suffer due to cancellation of flights. It had also observed as to why rates fluctuate beyond proportions to the disadvantage of poor and needy.

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