The changing face of airports in north-east India

Government to aid the development


December 21, 2017

/ By / New Delhi

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The government plans to upgrade various airports in the north-east by 2020. As part of the Act East Policy, the redevelopment is seeking support from the government as well as the Airports Authority of India.

The north-eastern part of India is often affected by poor infrastructure and connectivity, which have for long outlined the face of airports in this part of the country. But this scenario is about to change.

The government of India has initiated a process to build new facilities and upgrade the existing ones, including airstrips used by the army in north-east. The first phase of this development has already begun with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) currently working on an INR 25 billion project.  An investment of another INR 80 billion is also being discussed.

“We are already in the process of upgrading various airports in the north-east, which is likely to reach completion by 2019-20,” the AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told an Indian media. “We are also planning a second phase of airport upgrade programme for the north-eastern region.”

The initiatives are part of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East Policy, which seeks to accelerate development in the north-east, a region with huge tourism potential.  Modi had also recently announced of the roads and national highways in the north-eastern states within the next two-three years and allotted INR 900 billion for the same.

In the first phase of development, the state of Arunachal Pradesh will see an airport at the village of Holangi. Up- gradation of airports at Teju, Shillong and Agartala is also on the charts.

The Agartala airport is having a new terminal building which is being constructed at an estimated cost of INR  5 billion.

“We have taken initiatives to modernise the Agartala Airport, Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati and Shillong Airport to strengthen our Regional Connectivity Scheme,” Mohapatra was quoted.

The AAI chairman also said that the Agartala Airport would be modernised and upgraded into an international airport.

Besides these airports, the advanced landing grounds which are now being used only by the Indian Air Force will be redeveloped to be used by the civilians as well. The government is also working to boost the implementation of the schemes like regional connectivity, and UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik).

The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region is also participating in these developmental projects and will contribute its share in terms of funds as required in the second phase, a government official told the Indian press.

The government usually does not fund airport upgrades by the AAI, but has shown its support in the north-east, where a substantial share of the funding for projects otherwise comes through the regions’ budgetary resources. The government also partially funds construction of airports in the hilly areas and Jammu & Kashmir.

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