Villagers protest against Dharamshala airport expansion

Dharamshala (HP), Jan 3 (PTI) Residents of villages around the Kangra airport at Gaggal held a demonstration on the highway on Friday protesting against the planned expansion of the airport.

The protesters said thousands of families would become landless if the expansion is carried out.

On Wednesday too, nearby villagers gathered near the airport entrance gate to protest against the airport expansion beyond Gaggal market.

According to a recent survey conducted by the administration, it was proposed to expand the airport to 3,010 metres based on the report of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). In such a situation, some areas up to old Matour village may come under the area of expansion.

Land will be acquired on both sides of the airport -- towards the Shahpur and Kangra on the Pathankot-Mandi highway.

Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati said the AAI has written for the airport expansion.

He said larger planes will land here after the airport expansion, and airfare will be reduced considerably for Dharamshala airport.

Gaggal Airport Director Kishore Sharma said the facility will be made the first terminal-based airport in Himachal Pradesh.

According to the proposed master plan of Gaggal Airport, 396.05 acres of land will be acquired further. A total of 552 acres of land will be used for the airport.

The Dharamshala airport, officially known as Gaggal Airport, is located in Gaggal, 12 km from Dharamshala. PTI CORR CK