Srinagar: In a major boost to exports of horticulture produce, handicrafts and other goods from Kashmir, an international cargo terminal facility at the Srinagar International Airport was inaugurated on Friday. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials told Greater Kashmir that the facility is aimed to provide a thrust to exports.
An AAI official said “March 10, 2022 shall be a golden letters date in the history of our airport. On this day the Government of India acting through the Commissioner of Customs has notified us as custodian for the import and export of goods from abroad at our cargo terminal,”.
The official said with this authorisation and notification by government of India, Srinagar Airport can now offer services to the business community for import and export of goods directly from Srinagar.
“The airlines can operate exclusive cargo flights. They can also take cargo in their international passenger flights. We invite all airlines to make full use of this facility and commence their cargo operations from Srinagar Airport,” the official said.
“We also call upon the business community of Srinagar and surrounding areas to expand their horizons, dream big, and turn the world into their market by making full use of this great opportunity. We are very hopeful that this facility will be a huge step in the direction of economic development and create many jobs by multiplier effect in the catchment area of our airport,” the official said.
The cargo terminal is expected to provide a boost to 20 lakh metric tonnes of fresh fruit annual exports from Kashmir worth Rs 7,500 crore which includes apple, cherry, pears, plum etc. 500 truck loads of dry fruits export will also get impetus.
The Cargo terminal under Common User Domestic Cargo Terminal ( CUDCT) was first initiated in 2018 when Controlled Atmosphere Cold Storage was also a part of the project.
As per official data, approximately 25 to 30 metric tonnes of Cargo is processed from Srinagar on a daily basis. A positive growth is seen in the cargo operations and the Cargo terminal building will be able to handle the expected doubling of tonnage in the next one decade, Aviation experts said.
The initial plan of the cargo terminal had envisaged that it will have latest and state of the art facilities such as a truck dock area, acceptance, delivery, storage and a holding area which are an important part of this project.
As per the initial plan, a dedicated space for offices for airlines and AAI was likely to be kept at the terminal. The project plan has said that a canopy will be "put in place on the city side and air side for inbound and outbound cargo".
There would also be a notified car and truck parking area. A tubular structure for trusses along with digital ISDN and IP exchange will enhance the process of cargo operations at the proposed terminal. X-ray machines, computer motor driven weighing machines , forklift and trolleys will make the process of cargo operations easier, the initial project plan had said.