JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Sabir Ali has lamented the poor condition of Raxaul airport even after the Centre’s assurance six months back to renovate it, hampering tourism chances in the town.
Raxaul resident Ali said he has been demanding renovation of the airport to the ministry, which has seen Praful Patel, Vayalar Ravi and Ajit Singh as bosses, in the past three years.
“I have written nine letters on the issue of renovating the Raxaul airport to all three ministers since 2009. In June this year, I raised a short duration question in Parliament. In 2009 even, I was assured of the airport’s renovation by then minister in the House,” said Ali.
After June this year, Ali said Ajit Singh told him renovation of the airport would take an estimated Rs 100 crore and proposals under private-public partnership would be invited.
Six months on nothing has been done, alleged Ali. “It is funny that no tender to the effect has been invited by the ministry.”
The airport is not just in a shambles, the local farmers use the land surrounding it.
The MP said if the airport is renovated by its custodian — Airports Authority of India (AAI) — air taxi services could be started from Raxaul.
“I have suggested the Centre to start air taxi service between Patna and Raxaul because after the state capital, Raxaul is the most important place for tourists on their way to Nepal,” he added.
The airport, one of the six in the state, is situated on the India-Nepal border, 96km from Kathmandu. It has been important for defence purposes. Established after the Sino-Indian war of 1962, it served the purpose of emergency landing for the Indian Army.
“I am hopeful that the government will take a positive step for the renovation of the Raxaul airport. I have urged the minister concerned to see to the early restoration of the airport, keeping in mind the bright tourism prospects as well as security along the international border,” said Ali.