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Balurghat airport likely to begin services April-end

Statesman News Service | Balurghat |

Officials of the Civil Aviation Department and the State Transport Authority on Thursday visited Balurghat Airport and met district officials and stakeholders.

The visit was meant to record the latest updates on the ongoing construction and infrastructural development of the airport, officials said.

Following the visit and the meeting, officials said air services is likely to begin in Balurghat from next month.

The Director of Aviation, Dipak Kumar Gupta, Deputy Secretary of the Transport department, Rajat Kumar Bose, accompanied by officials of the district administration, surveyed the airport and held a meeting with engineers of the Public Works Department regarding the ongoing construction work.

In their last official visit to the airport, the aviation department had demanded establishment of watchtowers, electric facility, terminal room and others.

According to official sources at the Balurghat Airport, construction of the runway is complete, and that the location for the watchtowers had been selected, but no work has been started yet.

“The state transport department had started the renovation work of the airport on 4 July 2014. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 12,15,60,000. The length of the airstrip was set at 1097 metres, but engineers suggested extending it to 1495 metres. This airstrip can take a load of a 20-seater aircraft. The airport lacks facilities for passengers like sheds and waiting rooms. The approach road connecting the 512 national highways to the airport has been reconstructed,” airport sources said.

“Fixed wing aircraft having 20 seats will fly from this airport. We will try to connect the remote areas in the state with air service. The final decision about the routes is yet to be taken. We will try to arrange a ticket counter at the district administration office while tickets will be sold online too,” Mr Gupta said.

“We are expecting that the air services from Balurghat will start within the end of April. Officials have visited the airport. The watchtower is not mandatory, but we have to complete the terminal as quickly as possible,” the District Magistrate of South Dinajpur, Sharad Kumar Dwivedi, said.