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Since 1st March, 1999
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Air force solves road impasse

Silchar, Dec. 7: The Cachar district administration and Indian Air Force (IAF) ended the impasse over the use of a road connecting the town to Kumbhirgram airport by a few tea estates and civilians in a meeting at the deputy commissionerís office here last night.

A senior official of the district administration said last night the restriction imposed by IAF on the road near the airport was lifted temporarily for at least three months.

The source said it was agreed for three months that the road would be kept open from 6am to 9pm everyday.

The district administration mooted a proposal in yesterdayís meeting with the IAF authorities for develop an existing 3.5km-road, as an alternative to provide a link for Combeer tea estate and other gardens from airport to the town.

The administrative officer of the IAFís helicopter squadron, Wing Commander P. Viresh, said ďsecurity considerationsĒ had prodded the IAF to issue a notice on Monday restricting the movement of passers-by and vehicles, including those from the gardens, which provoked a road blockade on Wednesday.

At the request of the Cachar deputy commissioner Harendra Kumar Deb Mahanta, and tea barons at the meeting, the IAFís Silchar base agreed to lift the restriction temporarily.

Deb Mahanta said the PWD would be asked to survey the alternative Combeer-Tikal Road near the present road for converting it into an all-weather road within three months.

However, as a long-term arrangement, Mahanta said the district administration was also considering another project to build a 20km road between Bhandu and Koombirgram tea estates to bypass the IAF establishments on Cacharís borders with Dima Hasao district.

Apart from Mahanta and Wing Commander Viresh, south Assam DIG of police Vinod Kumar, Cachar districtís superintendent of police Diganta Bora, additional deputy commissioner Cachar Debashish Chakravarty, zila parishad chairman D. Barua, secretary of the Surma valley branch of the Indian Tea Association (ITA) Sumanta Guhathakurtha and a few tea estatesí managers attended the meeting.

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