Dhubri, July 16: The ministry of civil aviation yesterday approved leasing out Rupshi airport in Dhubri district to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to make it functional. The airport will be jointly used by the civil aviation and the IAF.
The minister of state for civil aviation G.M. Siddeswara yesterday said in the Lok Sabha that the ministry of civil aviation, on the request of the IAF, had approved the proposal of handing over Rupshi airport to them on lease.
The airport, which belongs to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), has been leased out to the IAF for its development and modernisation.
An official in Dhubri said the process of taking over Rupshi Airport began last year when AAI officials visited the airport and carried out a cursory survey of the land. They inspected the boundary pillars and asked the revenue circle officer of Golokganj in Dhubri district to demarcate the actual land of the airport.
“Prior to the creation of BTAD, the land of Rupshi airport was recorded under Golokganj revenue circle in Dhubri district. Since the land no longer belongs to Golokganj, its document was handed over to Kokrajhar district and accordingly Bogoribari revenue circle carried out the survey and demarcated the airport land by fixing boundary pillars,” said Golokganj circle officer Sabyasachi Kashyap.
Rupshi block development officer (BDO) under Bogoribari revenue circle, Saukat Ali, said at the insistence of the Bogoribari circle officer, land demarcation and pillar fixing work had been completed one and a half months ago.
“The demarcation and pillar fixing was jointly inspected by AAI officials from Guwahati and IAF officials from Hasimara in Bengal recently and was found to be satisfactory,” Ali said.
A senior member of the Rupshi Airport Revival Demand Committee, Bhagawati Bajaj, while welcoming the move by the ministry of civil aviation to make it operational, said the airport would prove to be a vital link with the rest of the country.
“Rupshi airport came into being in 1945 but stopped operating in 1984. It is a commercially viable airport and its re-opening will benefit Calcutta and Delhi-bound passengers from lower Assam districts like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Goalpara,” Bajaj added.
Rupshi, 23km from Dhubri town, is spread over 2,500 bighas of land, including the 6,000-feet runway, pockets and hangars for IAF planes.