Flight services will resume at Bagdogra airport — the second major airport in Bengal after Calcutta — from Tuesday, sources in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said here on Saturday.
Since April 11, flight operations had completely halted at the airport because the Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken the task to repair the sole runway of Bagdogra. On Tuesday, the first flight will land at Bagdogra from Delhi, sources said.
The Bagdogra airport is a civil enclave where the runway and the air traffic control are under the control of IAF.
“The IAF assigned the Border Roads Organisation for re-carpeting work of the runway. Work is in progress and we have been informed that the airport will reopen according to schedule on April 26,” said a source in the AAI.
The AAI also did renovation work at the terminal building, the source added.
“As the terminal building remained deserted during this period, we took the opportunity to take up some renovation work. Floor tiles have been replaced in the departure area, the VIP lounge and toilets were revamped. Repairs were also done in some areas of the building,” the source added.
The assertion from the AAI has come as a great relief for residents of Siliguri and north Bengal as a whole who had to travel by train or road since April 11. “We hope flights start running from next Tuesday (April 26). The inflow of tourists is likely to increase in the coming weeks,” said Samrat Sanyal, general secretary, Himalayan Hospitality & Tourism Development Network.
The Union home ministry has declared New Jalpaiguri railway station a checkpost under the Bureau of Immigration through a notification. The announcement has been made to facilitate the running of Mitali Express, a passenger train between NJP and Dhaka.
According to the notification, NJP is an immigration checkpost to enter or exit India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers.
In Bengal, this is the fourth such railway checkpost. The other three are Chitpur, Gede and Haridaspur, all located in southern parts of the state.