CHANDIGARH: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated a swanky new terminal at Chandigarh airport which will handle both domestic as well as international flights, and said it will play a key role in the economic development of the region.
Describing it as "magnificent" building, Modi dedicated to the nation the modern facility which is expected to boost the economic and industrial development in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The ambitious Rs 939-crore project, which is being seen as a "harbinger" of regional development for the northern part of the country, will be operated and maintained by Chandigarh International Airport Ltd (CHIAL), a joint venture between Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the governments of Punjab and Haryana.
AAI has 51 per cent stake in the project while Punjab and Haryana have 24.5 per cent equity each.
Modi, who visited Chandigarh city for the first time after becoming Prime Minister last year, said at a public rally later, "I had been in Chandigarh. I never thought that such a magnificent airport could come up in Chandigarh. I am very impressed by the airport. It will enhance the grace of the city.
"Be it Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, this airport will play a major role in the economic development of these areas," he said.
The Prime Minister asked officials concerned to make airport services beneficial for farmers to fetch them better returns.
"I have told officials that this airport should not only be meant for passengers. I have asked them to work towards how this airport could benefit our farmers whose produce could reach every nook and corner of the country so they could realize better remuneration," Modi said.
Governor of Punjab and Haryana and Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Kaptan Singh Solanki, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar were among those present on the occasion.
Before inaugurating the terminal, Modi was shown a model of the new building and taken around a photo exhibition depicting different stages in completion of this project and its salient features. He also showed interest in the murals on various cultural aspects of the region.
The PM was also presented a memento by Civil Aviation Minister Raju on the occasion.
Designed on green building concept, the terminal in Mohali (Punjab) is spread over 53,000 sqm and can handle 1,600 passengers, including 450 international travellers, during peak time.