ITANAGAR, NOVEMBER 13 (IANS): The Arunachal Pradesh government is resettling around 190 displaced Chakma tribal families elsewhere and to acquire some land from neighbouring Assam to develop a Greenfield airport at Hollongi for which the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has undertaken a Rs 650 crore project, officials said on Friday.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu visited the under construction airport site at Hollongi, near Arunachal Pradesh's capital Itanagar, and asked the engineers of the Gujarat-based firm, which is executing the project, and the state government departments - PWD, Power, Public Health Engineering - to complete the project by August 2022.
The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by state's Civil Aviation Minister Nakap Nalo, told the officials : "This important airport project, foundation of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is our top-most priority. Earlier the completion target was November 2022, which has been preponed to August 2022." An official statement said that as the airport site lies along the Assam-Arunachal boundary and some land have to be acquired also from the Assam territory, Khandu would soon have a talk in this regard with his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal.
"Both Arunachal and Assam would be benefited from the airport, we would coordinate with the Assam government in successful completion of the project," the statement said quoting the Chief Minister.
"The terminal building of the Hollongi airport would be equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and sustainable landscape. The terminal building's envelope is influenced by the surrounding landscapes," an AAI statement said.
Itanagar, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, has no airport in its vicinity. The closest airport being Lilabari airport in Assam is at a distance of 80 km and takes around three hours to reach by road.
An AAI statement said that an airport to connect the capital city is a much-needed aspiration of the local community which would also act as a primary gateway to the border state.
Khandu also visited the rehabilitation site of around 190 displaced Chakma tribal families and interacted with them.
He assured them assistance, especially in resolving the drinking water issue, which is under progress. As a temporary solution, water is being supplied through borewells at the moment, the statement added.
The Hollongi airport would be the 15th airport in the northeastern region and third in Arunachal Pradesh boosting the air connectivity of the mountainous areas.
The AAI has started work to re-develop the Rupsi airport in Kokrajhar District in Western Assam (bordering West Bengal) and this would be the seventh airport in Assam.
There are 13 existing airports in the northeast region - Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Lilalabari (all Assam), Tezu and Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Agartala (Tripura), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dimapur (Nagaland) and Lengpui (Mizoram).