Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a review of the existing fee structure of flying training institutes in the state to make it affordable and cost-effective for young aspirants, an official statement said. Presiding over the second meeting of the Punjab State Civil Aviation Council, of which he is the chairman, Singh said efforts should be made to enhance the quality of training at these institutes to bring them at par with global standards. He recalled the time when a majority of the commercial pilots engaged by major airlines in India and abroad had their initial training from the Patiala Flying Club. With flying operations witnessing major changes over the years, the council should revamp the two operational institutes at Patiala and Amritsar and adopt latest technology and modern flying practices, he said according to the statement. Acceding to the request of the council for up-gradation of flying infrastructure across the state, Singh asked the Punjab Technical University to provide Rs 10 crore for this purpose, besides authorising the purchase of two new modern aircraft and runway lighting for the civil aerodrome at Patiala, the statement said. The chief minister asked the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala to take up the issue of swapping of a chunk of land between the irrigation and defence authorities to ensure that the land is contiguous for the expansion of the existing runaway at the Patiala civil aerodrome. Singh directed the Deputy Commissioner to intensify the vigil at the aerodrome by deploying more police personnel, besides putting barbed wire across its entire boundary to prevent the entry of stray animals, which pose a major threat to the overall security of the aircraft and the staff, the statement said. Emphasising the need to rationalise the salaries and perks of the flying staff, especially training instructors and pilots, to bring them at par with the emoluments being paid to their counterparts by the private airlines, Singh said this initiative would go a long way to promoting hiring of qualified and talented staff.
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