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Nod to airstrip flights

Calcutta, Nov. 14: The defence ministry has agreed to clear commercial operations from the airstrips in Panagarh and Kanchrapara.

Defence minister A.K. Antony has written to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, saying his ministry has no objection if the civil aviation ministry starts commercial flights from the two strips in Burdwan and Nadia.

“Antony has said that though it is not possible to transfer the airstrips to the civil aviation ministry, his ministry would issue a formal approval if civil aviation approaches it directly,” said an official in the chief minister’s secretariat.

“It’s a good start. The current mandate for the civil aviation ministry is to have small airports in each and every corner of the country. If some commercial carriers want to operate flights from here, we’ll definitely consider it,” said S.P.S. Bakshi, regional director of the Airports Authority of India.

Officials said Panagarh is an important site as the area has witnessed industrial growth in recent times. “Also, the town is located near Tarapeeth and Santiniketan, which are tourist destinations,” an official said.

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