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Day dedicated to Barak Valley in Assembly; MLAs demanded Greenfield Airport, alternate rail-route

On Saturday, demand for a new greenfield airport at Barak Valley was raised in the state assembly during the day-long discussion on faster socio-economic development of Barak Valley. The event was part of the Speaker’s special initiative programme at the Assam Legislative Assembly.

Pressing on the need of another airport, Lakhipur MLA Rajdeep Goala said: “In the current session of Parliament, Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed that there is a proposal to set up a Greenfield airport at Silchar and the ministry is waiting for land clearance. So the ball is in the court of state government”. Goala urged the Chief Minister to look up into the demand for the larger interest of the people. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonwal, who was also in the house, was seen to be reacting affirmatively on the request.

Borkhola MLA Kishor Nath and Sonai MLA Aminul Haque Laskar also echoed similar views and pressed for a new airport in Barak Valley.

Chief Minister later during his speech said, to ease the connectivity of Barak Valley with Southeast Asia, a greenfield airport is very much required. “If we can construct a greenfield airport, then it will benefit us in the import and export and in the foreseeable future we can establish ourself as a stronger region in Asia,” CM said.

It is worth mentioning here that Guwahati MP, Queen Oja had raised a question in the ongoing Parliament session. She asked the aviation ministry to share its vision in terms of growing the air connectivity in Assam. MoS (Independent) Hardeep Singh Puri, as a part of his response, mentioned that the centre proposed a greenfield airport to be built in Silchar and is waiting for the State Government to share land details.   

Greenfield airports are those which are constructed on an underdeveloped or abandoned green piece of land. Generally, such airports are commissioned, planned and constructed from scratch. While a greenfield found in nature is defined as a wide expanse of natural land (meadow, prairie, grassland), here greenfield denotes that a project lacks any constraints imposed upon it by prior work or existing infrastructure.

While modern greenfield airports are under construction in Beijing, Istanbul, and Sydney, India’s greenfield airport project schedule is among the world’s most robust. India’s annual civil aviation sector growth rate currently sits at nine per cent, but is expected to reach into the double digits for the coming years. Over the next two decades, the number of airports is expected to increase from 133 to 500. Of these, 367 are slated to be greenfield airports. 

During today’s discussion, many other demands were also raised among which alternative rail route to Barak Valley was one of them. All the MLAs of Barak Valley raised various issues pertaining to Barak Valley and voiced the need of Chandranathpur-Lanka alternative rail link. Silchar MLA Dilip Paul in his speech said “During monsoon, often rail line gets disrupted due to landslide in the hill section. So there is need of another rail route via Chandranathpur-Lanka region. This will also reduce the distance of Guwahati from Silchar”. 

Sonai MLA Aminul Laskar also raised the issue and questioned why the proposal of the alternate rail line is kept in cold storage. “If this route is commissioned, the Silchar-Guwahati distance will reduce by 100 km and also in the future it will be easier to electrify the line as it comes under plain section” MLA mentioned.

 

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