Meghalaya Transport Minister meets Ajit Singh
From Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI: Air traffic to Meghalaya will see much-needed improvement with the Centre agreeing to remove all the bottlenecks pertaining to two airports- Umroi and Baljek, said Meghalaya Transport Minister A T Mondal.
Mondal, who met Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh here on Thursday, said to begin with both the Centre and the state Government have agreed to take up with the Indian Oil Corporation for setting up of a refueling station at Umroi.
A present aircraft flying between Kolkata-Jorhat-Shillong are carrying fuel for its return flight.
The 48-seater small ATR aircraft flying in this route has to leave out at least ten seats to accommodate fuel containers, Mondal told Ajit Singh.
The later assured that his ministry would take up the matter with the IOC to remove this major problem.
Mondal urged the Civil Aviation Minister to operationalise the Baljek airport at the earliest.
“A DPR for its upgradation has been prepared by the Airport Authority of India at an estimated cost of Rs.111 cr,” he said.
Mondal also pointed out that at present there is only one flight between Kolakta and Shillong that too is very irregular.
There should be one more flight between Shillong to Guwahati and the Shillong-Kolakta flights should be declared as “no-cancellation” route, he urged Singh.
To attract passengers the Meghalaya Government has waived taxes on aviation fuel and now the Air India should take the lead, Mondal said.
Mondal said that the state Government has a comprehensive plan for civil aviation and expression of interest for hiring consultants to draw a perspective plan is prepared. He sought the ministry’s help to carry forward the plan.
On the reintroducing of the chopper service, Mondal said the state Government has already floated tender for the same. “May be this service can be extended beyond Shillong -Tura route,” he said.
Recently, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha K. Sangma and Rajya Sabha MP Thomas A. Sangma, both of the NCP, had met Union Civil Aviation minister, who had given the assurance that Balject airport would be made operational soon.
Congress accused the NCP of fooling people by trying to take credit for contributing towards making Baljek airport in West Garo Hills operational.