Environment Ministry Panel Clears Jammu Airport Runway Extension Project
The EAC, in its recommendation, directed the AAI to strictly comply with conditions like landscaping and plantation, keeping in mind that bird-nesting did not take place.
The AAI should ensure that a sewage treatment plant of a capacity of 200 kilolitres per day (KLD) was provided to treat the wastewater generated from the airport
An expert committee of the environment ministry has granted clearance to a project to extend the runway of the Jammu airport with certain riders, including the development of a green belt around it. The Rs 92-crore project of the Airports Authority of India (AIA) was recommended by the Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) for extension of the runway by 396x45 metres to make its total length 2,438 metres. Presently, the runway is 2,042 metres long.
The EAC, in its recommendation, directed the AAI to strictly comply with conditions like landscaping and plantation, keeping in mind that bird-nesting did not take place. "The landscape planning should include plantation of native species. The plantation species should be carefully chosen to avoid bird-nesting and to improve pollution control and noise control measures. The adequate area shall be provided for green belt development and landscaping," it said.
The committee directed the project proponent to procure consent to operate from the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (JKPCB) as required under the Air Act and the Water Act and a clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for safety and project facilities. It made it clear that aircraft maintenance, the sensitivity of the location where activities were undertaken and the control of runoff of potential contaminants, chemicals etc. should be properly implemented and reported.
The AAI should ensure that a sewage treatment plant of a capacity of 200 kilolitres per day (KLD) was provided to treat the wastewater generated from the airport, the committee said. "Treated water (128 KLD) shall be reused for flushing, gardening and dust suppression. As proposed, the airport will operate on zero liquid discharge principle," the EAC said. The committee also directed that the rule regarding the mandatory implementation of dust mitigation measures for construction and demolition activities should be complied with.
"Moreover, during airport operation period, noise should be controlled to ensure that it doesn't exceed the prescribed period and a monitoring station for ambient air and noise levels shall be provided in the village nearest to the airport," the EAC mentioned in its communication. The committee also stressed on drawing up of an on-site disaster management plan to account for risks and accidents.
Under Corporate Environment Responsibility (CER), one per cent of the project cost, that is Rs 92 lakh, shall be earmarked for activities such as installing borewells and hand-pumps in the surrounding villages for facilitating drinking water supply, support to local government schools with regard to sanitation and health, construction of public toilets in the surrounding villages, strengthening of village roads, medical camps and installation of streetlights.
According to the minutes of the meeting of the EAC, the AAI submitted that the airport currently handled about 30 operations per day -- 15 landings and 15 takeoffs. The annual operating capacity of the airport is about 10 lakh passengers.
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