Jorhat, June 28: A city-based NGO has urged Union civil aviation minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju to open the Jorhat airport.
The airport, which is under the Indian Air Force, has been closed for modernisation since April 15. It was supposed to be opened on June 16 but this has been extended till July 6.
The Jorhat Bikash Committee, in its letter submitted to Jorhat MP K.P. Tasa, has written that for more than two months the people of Jorhat and nearby districts have been forced to go to Mohanbari airport in Dibrugarh district, 165km from Jorhat, which is causing them untold sufferings.
“The people here have been unable to avail of the fastest mode of transport because of the runway modernisation work being executed by the Indian Air Force. It is expected to be functional by July 6 but the date may be extended. Passengers from here are forced to alight at Dibrugarh airport,” the letter says.
To reach Dibrugarh, passengers have to make a long and tiring journey by rail or road.
The letter says the length of the runway is more than enough to run operations and execute the work simultaneously, hence the airport could start functioning immediately.
It says a survey conducted by the committee found a huge demand for air travel and more flights from Jorhat, specifically of Air India, the national carrier.
It urged the minister to take steps to give clearance to private airlines, such as SpiceJet and Indigo, which have evinced interest in operating flights from Jorhat, to do so.
The committee demanded a connecting morning flight from Jorhat to Calcutta to New Delhi and a cargo hub facility for Jorhat airport.
The letter said the terminal building was small and congested and lacked amenities and that it required urgent upgrade.
“There is inadequate car parking space and, therefore, some cars forcibly park near the terminal, posing a safety hazard for aircraft. In this connection, the demand for 50 acres of land by the Airports Authority of India opposite the runway may be facilitated for construction of a modern terminal, apron, car park and allied services,” the letter stated.