Sikkim's first greenfield airport in Pakyong will be fully functional by December 14, paving the way for air connectivity to the landlocked state, state tourism minister Bhim Dhungel announced today.
The Airport Authority of India, which manages 125 airports across the nation, has set targets in environmental conservation, and the first such airport is Pakyong Greenfield Airport. Novel measures have been used and emphasis given to preserve the flora and fauna of the beautiful hill state, added the minister.
According to Dhungel, trial runs will begin from the first week of December and commercial operations will start from December 14. Construction work is presently in full swing on a 5,000 ft runway to initially cater to small aircraft such as the ATR-72.
The minister said the project has cost Rs300 crore and the state government is developing a terminal building that can accommodate more than 100 people and 80 vehicles at a stretch. He also said the airport has been built in a unique way by sourcing materials from the locality to complement the surroundings. A 72m-high reinforcement wall has been erected to tap natural water for continuous supply through a well-designed network of non-woven, geo-synthetic pipes.
The Pakyong airport is coming up at an altitude of 4,700ft making it one of the five highest airports in India with the highest reinforcement wall in the entire world. Pakyong town is 40km from Gangtok and the next nearest airport is Bagdogra in Siliguri at a distance of 124km.
The state government also has plans to establish more helipads in all the four districts to facilitate travel during times of natural calamities such as landslides.
Earlier, Dhungel met Union tourism minister K Chiranjivi and requested for a grant of Rs20 crore for upgrading existing helipads and constructing new ones in the state.
Source : echoofindia.com