Gnagtok, Sept 12 IBNS | 2 years ago

Sikkim's first greenfield airport at Pakyong will be completed by Dec 2014 which will provide air connectivity to the land locked state, said Sikkim tourism minister Bhim Prasad Dhungel after meeting with Union tourism minister K. Chiranjeevi at Transport Bhawan in New Delhi.

The Pakyong airport is being buil at an altitude of 4,700 ft which will be one of the five highest airports in India.

The reinforcement wall on the project is 80 m height, which is one of the tallest reinforcement walls in the world.

He told that construction work on Rs 300 crore cost state first airport being constructed by Airport Authority of India at 200 acre land around 30 km south state capital Gangtok, is in full swing and added that operational flights for the airport will be commissioned by the March 2015.

He said that this airport having 180 mts long airstrip will facilitate the flights of ATR-72 planes and include hangars for two small ATR aircraft.

Presently, the nearest airport to Sikkim is located 124 kilometres away at Bagdogra in West Bengal.

Dhungel said that it will open alternative connectivity route to state as at present the state has to depend solely on NH 31 for connecting to rest of world.

He said that the airport will also facilitate the free movements to state from rest of the country when the National Highway 31 is blocked by protestors and agitators from time to time.

The airport consists of a terminal building measuring 2380 square metres with a capacity of 100 passengers, a car park for 80 vehicles and a fire station cum Air Traffic Control Tower.

Dhungel said that Belfast-based geotechnical company Maccaferri has won an international award fo carving out airport from the mountainside using massive geotechnical 'cut and fill' engineering works.

The airport is being built at an altitude of 4,700 ft with deep valleys at both ends of the runway featuring a 1700 metre long, 30 metre wide runway and a 116 metre long taxiway connecting it to an apron measuring 106 metres by 76 metres.

He said that state government will consider demand of additional land for construction of the greenfield airport.

Dhungel requested the Union tourism minister to provide central assistance of Rs 20 crore for upgradation of helipads in the state in conformity norms with the DGCA.

He said that state government has constructed helipads at Namchi, Palling, Dalapchen, Lachung, Ravong, Dodak ,Yangang and Mangan and added that all these helipads needed to be upgraded for meeting modern safety standards and told that at present Burtuk helipad, 4 km from state capital Gangtok, fully conforms to the safety standards fixed by DGCA .

Dhungel suggested for providing security of the airport to the state police to curtail expenditure on operational cost and added that the Sikkim Police are fully equipped trained and competent to handle the security of greenfield airport.

He said that the state government will provide all the logistic and other facilities to the AAI for timely completion of construction work and added that necessary fire, rescue and other modern facilities will be provided by the state government on operational of the airport

Sikkim tourism secretary C. Zangpo was also present in the meeting

(Posted on 13-09-2013)