Sinlung /
23 March 2012

Assam Airports Set For Major Facelift

Guwahati: Airports in Assam, including the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport, are set for a major facelift with the government mooting measures to turn the state into an aviation hub of the entire North Eastern region.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has taken up the matter with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to explore ways to improve the airports which will further encourage country’s much-vaunted Look East policy aimed at connecting the South Eastern Asian neighbours, official sources said in Guwahati today.


The sources said AAI chairman VP Agarwal had had a discussion recently with the chief minister on issues relating to development of airports and construction of a new integrated terminal building and taxi-track at LGBI to cope up with the heavy inflow of passengers.
The LGBI airport, situated in Borjhar area in the outskirts of the city, is the sixth busiest airport of the country having air traffic of about 90 flights a day.

Elsewhere, there are 11 airports in the state, and the AAI has plans to develop them including ones in Dibrugarh, Rowriah in Jorhat district, Lilabari in Lakhimpur and the non-functional Rupshi airport in Dhubri.
The AAI has put in a request with the Assam government to hand over the land required at the earliest for modernisation and expansion.

The AAI has informed the state government that an amount of Rs 500 crore will be required for a parallel runway, Rs 150 crore for traffic taxi and Rs 100 crore as cost of land and urged the government to move the North Eastern Council (NEC), the apex funding authority of the region, for financial
support.

Gogoi, in turn, has urged the AAI to explore other sources of funding for meeting the requirement to convert Assam into a regional aviation hub.

The government has also requested the AAI to ensure that the cost of land acquisition for airports, borne by it so far, is shared by other states of the region as well as the DONER and NEC, sources said.

The chief minister impressed upon the AAI about the need for immediate expansion of Rowriah airport in Jorhat in upper Assam as it has tremendous scope for growth of the aviation sector.

The issue of revival of the Rupshi airport in Dhubri was also a priority as it would cater to the need of lower Assam districts including the Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts (BTAD).

The BTAD has its headquarter in Kokrajhar which is geographically the lifeline of the entire North East region and also important from the security point of view because of its thick forest cover, the sources said.

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