SILCHAR, June 30 - Back in 1999, the Silchar airport underwent a major extension to facilitate passengers travelling to and fro from this part of the country. Since then, 18 years have gone by, the airport at Kumbhirgram under Udharbondh constituency is facing serious space crunch. Ahead of the launch of the first passenger Boeing service in south Assam, slated to begin from July, the Airport Authorities of India (AAI) at the Silchar airport have expressed concerns on the lack of adequate space inside the terminal.
In the words of Nand Kishore Deoli, the airport director, the present terminal is largely insufficient to bear the load of the passengers.
“We have been placing demands before the State Government since 2010 to give us land so that a new terminal with more space can be constructed. The present terminal can barely accommodate 160 passengers whereas when two flights are scheduled within an interval of 30 minutes, the rush escalates to 300 passengers.” Deoli said.
But he was quick to add that, the State Government has nodded in the affirmative to their demand for allocating land for constructing a new terminal.
“In a recent move, the government has shown keen interest and already two rounds of survey were conducted for a plot of 116 acres of land adjacent to the new ATC opposite to the runway. We are waiting for the Cachar district administration to complete the formalities of sending the report to the government,” the Airport Director said.
On the other hand, Udharbondh MLA Mihir Kanti Shome said that it will take at least another three months for the land allotment issue to be resolved for the construction of the proposed new terminal. Also, when asked about the wretched condition of the road connecting the city to the airport, the MLA said “Rs 54 crores has been sanctioned from the Central Roads Fund (CRF) and tender bidding is in progress to improve the condition of the all important road and converting into a four-lane way as well.” Reacting to the demands of making the roadway through the Dayapur Tea Estate adjacent to the airport operational for the locals as well as for the passengers, the MLA informed that Rs 17 crores has been sanctioned from the CM package to make the road viable.