Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation on Monday the Pakyong airport in Sikkim. This is Sikkim’s first greenfield airport.
Calling it a “historic day” for the hill state, as also entire India, the PM said the Pakyong airport just took the total number of airports in the country to 100.
“It is a historic day not only for Sikkim but also an important day for the country. Our country now has 100 airports. Since Independence till 2014, the country had only 65 airports but in the past four years, we have set up 35 more airports,” Modi said.
Addressing a gathering at a school ground at Pakyong after inaugurating the airport, the PM said: “We are committed to making the Northeast as engine of India’s growth story. For the first time since Independence, stress has been given on increasing connectivity by both air and rail, electricity in remote areas of the Northeast and building infrastructure.”
Modi also the airport would benefit the people of Sikkim, boost tourism and give impetus to trade.
Attacking the previous Congress-led governments at the Centre, the PM said, “For them connectivity was never a priority. Since Independence, there were only 65 airports in the country, which means one airport on an average per year, but in the last four years, we have developed nine airports on an average per year.”
Sikkim got its first airport nine years after the foundation stone for it was laid in 2009. The airport is located 33 km from the state capital of Gangtok.
The first commercial flight from Pakyong will take off on October 4.
Located around 60 km from the China border, the airport is spread across over 201 acres and is located on the top of a hill about 2 km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level, Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava has said.
(With agency inputs)