| The Silchar airport |
Jan. 9: The airport that sprang up in the middle of nowhere to aid British air warfare during World War II is being fitted with the best in aviation technology to ensure fault-free takeoffs and touchdowns.
Armed with the new appendages, Silchar airport, at Kumbhirgram, some 25km from the town, will be ready to join the league of the country’s best aerodromes that are equipped to handle large aircraft.
Technicians are at work to install an Instrument Landing System (type I), distance measuring equipment and a modern lighting system that will help aircraft land during the night. The runway is also being extended.
Sontosh Mohan Dev, the Congress MP from Silchar and Union minister for heavy industries, said Congress president Sonia Gandhi was expected to open the revamped airport on February 14.
Dev, in fact, used his contacts in Delhi to pave the way for modernisation of Silchar airport.
A senior officer at the airport, Satyen Roy, said installation of most of the equipment was now “almost complete”.
Various deadlines, from the middle to the end of February, “were marked for commissioning of these gadgets,” he said.
The runway extension — from 5,857 feet to 7,500 feet — is on its last leg.
The Rs 35 crore for the project has been allocated from central coffers.
A Rs 20 crore ILS, imported from Germany, will be unveiled next month. It will help aircraft land and take off with precision.
To aid night landing, the latest lighting gadgets are being fitted at a cost of Rs 5 crore.
The lights and the gadgets have been installed with a second round of funds sanctioned by the Centre for this airport.
In 2000, the terminal of Silchar airport was revamped with Rs 3.87 crore from central funds.