MULTAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the international terminal of the existing Multan Airport, enabling international travel for Multan residents who previously had to travel to Islamabad and Lahore to make an international journey.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his elation at the inauguration of the newly christened 'Multan International Airport', and said that the city is slated to witness mega-projects that open employment opportunities.
|Two new lounges have been constructed at the airport out of which one will be used by domestic passengers and the other by international passengers, an official said. -DawnNews screengrab|
The international terminal project was initiated to expand the existing airport so that wide-bodied aircraft could land and take off for direct international passenger and cargo flights, Radio Pakistan reported.
The geographical center and the fifth most populous city of the country, Multan is a commercial, agricultural and industrial hub, as it is connected with the rest of the country through rail and air.
The government hopes that the inauguration of the new wing of the existing airport will boost the exports of fruits, particularly mango.
|Prior to Multan International Airport's update, residents had to depart for foreign countries from Lahore and Islamabad -APP|
A cargo complex has also been built having a storage capacity of 10,000 tons and preservation of perishable vegetables and fruits.
Earlier on Saturday Project Director retired Air Vice Martial Atique Rafique told media that the project was launched by former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani “while the credit to complete it goes to the present government.”
“The foundation stone of the Rs9 billion project was laid by Mr Gilani in 2008; however later the project cost was reduced by 10 per cent while the master plan of the project was approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 2009,” he said.
|The construction cost of the new terminal has been reported to be Rs9 billion. -APP|
He said two new lounges had been constructed at the airport out of which one would be used by domestic passengers and the other by international passengers.
PM Nawaz appreciated the quality of work of the airport and termed it one of the best in the country. He however directed to ensure its maintenance so that the people do not face any difficulty. He said the people of Multan will soon begin to reap the benefits of the new modern linkage that would provide them a fast and modern travelling facility.
CAA officials say a number of international airlines have applied for operating direct flights to and from Multan. The Prime Minister spoke of the rich historical, political and cultural significance of Multan and said the expansion of the airport would play a major role in linking the Central Punjab with the rest of the world.
Further development of central Punjab underway: PM Nawaz
The premier said Multan was being connected to the rest of the country through a modern motorway network. He said Multan would be connected to Lahore at a cost of Rs 130 billion and with Sukkur at a cost of Rs 242 billion
He added that the people of central Punjab have been deprived of development in the past, however work is now underway to bring it at par with the developed areas of the country. He said that a development package of Rs 29 billion has been earmarked for the city and adjoining areas.
PM Nawaz added that the federal government would provide funds for the construction of a 32 km long inter-city ring road to facilitate the people of Multan and adjoining areas. He also mentioned a number of projects were underway including the Shahbaz Sharif hospital costing Rs 51 crore, a burn unit and upgradation of Intensive Care Unit in Nishtar Hospital, a Kidney Centre costing Rs 87 crore to cater to the needs of the health sector and a drug testing laboratory has been constructed at cost of Rs 10 billion.
The premier further said that classes have begun in agriculture, engineering and women universities and promised that these would have separate campuses soon. He said it was his government's desire to complete projects for electricity generation of 10,000 Mega Watts before the end of his government's tenure and said a number of short and long term projects were underway to meet the future needs of the country.
He said, for the country to progress, there was a need to plan ahead for atleast 25 years so that the country keeps pace with the modern world.