Centre nod to reopen Rupshi Airport

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By BIJOY KR SHARMA
  • Published 28.01.12
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Dhubri, Jan. 27: The Centre has approved the reopening of the Rupshi Airport, which provided air connectivity to the lower Assam districts.

Welcoming the Centre’s recent decision to reopen the airport that stopped functioning in 1984, a source of the Rupshi Airport Revival Demand Committee said the government a few years ago had drawn up a plan to revamp the airport, 15km from Dhubri town, with the joint initiative of the Union ministry of civil aviation and the North Eastern Council (NEC) but it never materialised.

The committee source also said the Centre under the civil aviation ministry had given a go-ahead on the proposal put forward by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in which the Indian Air Force had also shown interest.

“The Rupshi Airport was built during World War II which has 6,000-metre runway and capable of handling any kind of aircraft. So, there will no problem if the airport serves dual purpose — civil aviation and IAF base,” said the secretary of the committee, Jyotirmoy Chakraborty.

Chakraborty also said the airport was an important airstrip for its strategic location and proximity to Bangladesh, Myanmar and China and if it operated as IAF base, people would have extra benefits of security around it.

The working president of lower Assam unit of North East Distributors’ Association, Bhagwati Bajaj, who took the initiative to reopen the Rupshi Airport, said in the eighties, Vayudoot had last operated for a very brief period. Since then, Dhubri as well as lower Assam districts remained cut off from air connectivity.

“We demand the revival of this airport. The Centre has taken the initiative to introduce rail project and revive Dhubri river port. So naturally, reopening of the airport is a priority now,” Bajaj added.

Bajaj also said once thrown open, the airport would be a blessing for passengers from the lower Assam districts like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and also north Bengal, Garo hills in Meghalaya and part of Bhutan.

Dhubri deputy commissioner Sunil Dutta said he had received a letter from the AAI for demarcation of the airport land.

“The process of demarcation of land started from January 17 and hopefully it will be completed soon,” Dutta added.

He said the reopening of the airport would benefit the area economically.