Dimapur, February 14 (MExN): The National People’s Party (NPP) Nagaland Unit today called upon the State Government to focus on upgrading the existing Airport in Dimapur to an International Airport “as the feasibility of an Airport at the proposed site of Chiethu by the State Government is full of loopholes and utterly doubtful.”
A press release from the NPP Nagaland President, Andrew Ahoto Sema said that the the proposed Airport project in Chiethu will mean “bulldozing and clearing off the area for building the Airport which will not only be time consuming but also it will mean unnecessary spending of crores of rupees.”
The present Airport in Dimapur stands a far greater chance of being upgraded to an international airport with much lesser funds and resources, it claimed.
The NPP further said that even if the proposed Airport at Chiethu becomes a reality, “it will not be convenient for many commuters from Nagaland itself to spend additional fares to reach Kohima and then fly in an airplane.” It reminded that Dimapur not only caters to the commuters from Nagaland but also to those from nearby areas of Karbi Anglong and Upper Assam to a considerable extent.
It meanwhile said that considering the hilly terrain of the proposed Airport site in Chiethu, “it would be really difficult for international flights to land and take off from the airport especially when Kohima district faces long monsoon season and is mostly covered in a thick blanket of mist and fog.”
Further, the NPP pointed out that the Airport in Dimapur is well connected with the Railway Station and all nearby bus and taxi stands while also being the nearest to the National Highway-29 making it a much favoured Airport.
“We are not against the construction of a separate airport in Kohima as we can understand that as the State Capital it does require an Airport but at no cost should it be compromised by neglecting the upgradation of the Dimapur Airport to an International Airport,” the NPP said.
The NPP suggested that the government also work towards construction of state-of-the-art Helipads and introduction of smaller and durable passenger as well as cargo chopper services in all district headquarters and major Sub-Divisions.
The other consideration that we can collectively make is the opening of a new Airport in Tizit in Mon District which has ample land as well as favourable terrain and weather conditions. This will not only develop and provide better air connectivity for the people of Eastern Nagaland, some parts of Central Nagaland and Upper Assam but also make connectivity to the remote areas of Nagaland far better and much faster,” it proposed.
Further it urged the government to be bold enough to retrieve the encroached land at Dimapur Airport at any cost or by purchasing additional plots of lands for “funds may be allotted by the Central Government through AAI if required.”
The NPP asserted that it would not support any move to shift the present airport from its present location to any other place.
Meanwhile, the NPP also called for the State Government to demand from the Railway Ministry, more sophisticated and modern trains and coaches with ultra-modern facilities and proper maintenance as development of the Dimapur Railway Station has to be in due earnest and not just a cosmetic face-lift.
Despite being the 2nd most revenue earning railway station under the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), the NPP lamented that Dimapur continues to been “under the whims of Lumding Division or Tinsukia Division.”
Further, it stated that “due to syndicalism in issue of ticket quotas,” people of Nagaland do not get proper quota of train tickets on time and during rush hours.