The Central Government has given green signal for the construction of an airport in Mandi district.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur disclosed this after meeting Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri at New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

Thakur said that the upcoming airport in Mandi district will be constructed in a joint venture by state government and Airport Authority of India (AAI), for which the authority will prepare detailed project report in a week while the state government will hasten up the land acquisition process.

He also discussed expansion of airports in the state and requested for exploring possibilities of landing of A320 aircraft at Gaggal and ATR74 aircrafts in Shimla and Bhuntar airports without load bottlenecks. He requested for expansion of runways of existing airports. He said that this would not only provide good connectivity but also boost tourism in state.

Thakur said that air ambulance services project needs to be strengthened in the state as it is facing problems due to existing terms and conditions.

He added that this is vital for the state due to its rough geographical conditions and rescuing tourists in inclement weather conditions.

The Union Minister assured of all possible assistance and agreed with the view of Chief Minister about long term planning.

Meanwhile, in another meeting with Union Minister for Textiles, Women and Child Development Smriti Irani at New Delhi, the Himachal CM requested for increasing the limit of district foster care and sponsorship fund limit from existing Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh per district per year. He also urged for appointing four security personnel for every child care  organisation under Baal sanrakshan sewayen yojna keeping in view the  provisions under Juvenile Justice ( care and protect of children ) Act 2015. He also requested for providing budget for the salary of such appointees.

The Chief Minister apprised the Union Minister that  salaries and allowances to 428 posts under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) may be exempted  under new guidelines and may be allowed under 90:10 sharing pattern by centre and state.

Irani also reviewed the status of schemes of Ministry of Women and Child Development in the state and lauded the progress made by the state. Status of Poshan Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna, Anganwadi services, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, scheme for adolescent girls and child protection services were reviewed.

Dr Shrikant Baldi Chief Secretary briefed about the progress made under various schemes.