Take steps to start more airlines: CM's plea to Centre, AAI

Praful Patel opens New Integrated Terminal Building at Mangalore airport

Take steps to start more airlines: CM's plea to Centre, AAI

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel unveils the plaque to mark the inauguration of New Integrated Terminal Building at Mangalore Airport on Saturday. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Union Minister M Veerappa Moily, Ministers Janardhan Reddy, Krishna          J Palemar, MPs Nalin Kumar Kateel, Oscar Fernandes and MLA Abhayachandra Jain look on. dh photo

Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of New Integrated Terminal Building at Mangalore airport, constructed at a project cost of Rs 250 crore, at Kenjar near here on Saturday, he hoped that Mangalore airport, the second biggest airport in Karnataka, will help boost the investment potential in the region.

Listing out the developmental works in the State,he called upon the people of the region to give him a list of developmental works to be done. 

“Give me a list of the works to be done and I will materialise it within the next three years,” he challenged.

New approach road

The CM also said that the Rs 9 crore proposal to construct approach road to the main road will be cleared soon. The existing new road at Kenjar with a couple of hairpin bends is posing a threat to the vehicle users. Hence, a new road is being developed via Dakkan park. However, new terminal at Kenjar has reduced the distance to the airport from Mangalore by 8 kms.

International status

Speaking on the occasion, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily appealed Union Minister Praful Patel to take steps to declare Mangalore airport as “International airport.” Urging Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to set up a task force to speed up developmental works pertaining to airports, train services, ports and highways, Moily said that the largest investments in India come from  Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

He also recalled the services of U S Srinivas Mallya, who envisioned the growth of coastal region six decades ago.

However, he regretted that there was “trust deficit” in the region, hinting at the protests by environmentalists.

District-in-Charge Minister J Krishna Palemar termed the coastal region as “Kamadenu” of Karnataka. “The coastal region is synonymous for developmental works.”

Union Minister Praful Patel unveiled the plaque to mark the inauguration of NITB. Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, MLA Abhayachandra Jain, Mayor Rajani Dugganna and AAI Chairman V P Agarwal among others were present on the occasion. The new terminal is expected to be commissioned from June 1, 2010.

Oscar, Moily go down memory lane

The inauguration of NITB also povided a platform for two veteran Congress leaders to share their sweet as well as bitter memories of yesteryears.

Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes recalled the day when the first prime minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru arrived at Mangalore Airport (Bajpe Aerodrome then) in 1951. “I was just 10 and I witnessed the inauguration by Pandit Nehru,” he said.

Then it was the turn of Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily who said that he was just 11 and he too witnessed the inaugural. “I came in a bicycle all the way from Moodbidri just to witness the event,” he said.

Dangerous but wonderful airport:     Rajiv Gandhi

Recalling the 1981-aircrash in which the then minister M Veerappa Moily escaped unhurt, Fernandes said that perhaps Avros stopped operating on the route since then. “When I narrated the incident later to former prime minister Rajeev Gandhi (who was also a pilot) during his visit and that the table top airport was dangerous, Rajeev Gandhi replied in negetive.”

“However, after he saw the airport, Rajeev Gandhi exclaimed that it was the best airport as the deep valley on either side of the table top airport would help the pilot to take off again easily, in case of an emergency,” Oscar said in a lighter vein.

Recalling the incident, Senior Journalist Manohar Prasad said that on the fateful day on August 19, 1981, the pilot of the Bangalore-Mangalore Avro aircraft landed in spite of not getting clearance from the ATC (in view of the poor visibility). In fact, when the aircraft touched the ground, only 25 per cent of the runway was left. The result: The plane wrested upon a cliff on the edge of the hill. Three huge laterite stones prevented the plane from plunging into 300-feet-deep valley. Though the engine caught fire, the fire brigade doused the fire and all the passengers escaped with minor injuries.

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