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Kohima airport hits hurdle over report

Kohima, Dec. 26: The proposed Kohima airport project has run into a hurdle with the feasibility report submitted to the ministry of civil aviation stating it is financially not viable.

Kohima is one of the few state capitals that do not have air links with the rest of the country.

Annoyed by the verdict in the feasibility report, chief minister Neiphiu Rio said: “If we look at it from this point of view, then any airport in the Northeast is not financially viable. But we have to come up with it.”

Rio met civil aviation minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy during his visit to New Delhi early this week. Rudy is expected to visit Kohima next month. Defence minister George Fernandes, too, is likely to make a trip in January to inaugurate the state’s first Sainik School.

The airport project is part of the Nagaland People’s Front-led coalition’s common minimum programme. Delhi is expected to clear the project despite the feasibility factor because the major constituents of the Nagaland coalition are also in the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

The site for the proposed airport, a few km from Kohima, was surveyed this year. Nagaland had a helicopter service that was suspended after a crash.

INPT schism

Agartala, Dec. 26: With factionalism rearing its head in the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) at a faster pace than ever, the tribal-based one-and-a-half-year old party appears to be heading for another split.

The two-day state conference of the party, which begins here tomorrow, is likely to witness a formal division between leaders belonging to the two rival factions. The conference begins at the Pragati School auditorium. The bone of contention is the posts of president and general secretary for which several contenders have come up.

Sources within the party said assistant general secretary Amiya Debbarma joined hands with former vice-president Debabrata Koloi to unseat incumbent general secretary and MLA Rabindra Debbarma.

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