Kolkata: The state government is expediting the project of developing airports at Malda, Purulia and Balurghat.
The step has been taken so that the work to develop the airports can be started at the earliest. The state Public Works Department (PWD) will be carrying out the development work. It may be mentioned that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had handed over the land of Balurghat and Malda airports to the state government for a period of 30 years at a lease value of Re 1.
Sources in the state secretariat stated that it will cost a few crores to develop each of the airports.
It may be mentioned that step has been taken to ensure air connectivity with the districts including the ones in both North and South Bengal.
It may be mentioned that an expert organisation has prepared the Details Project Report (DPR) as per the set guidelines of the AAI for renovation of the Malda Airport.
It is learnt that completely a new airport on the existing one spread across 114 acre of land in Malda will come up at a projected cost of Rs 13 crore.
According to sources, if everything goes as planned, an administrative building and an all new air traffic control will be set up besides creating the necessary infrastructure at Malda airport.
There is a regional connectivity scheme of the Centre, UDAN and the state government has also accepted it. Thus, renovation of airports in places like Malda and Balurghat will help to attract operation of flights from these places. It will improve the air-connectivity within the state.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been stressing on the development of air connectivity between different points in the state. The state government has decided to construct helipad in the newly-set up district of Jhargram to improve the air-connectivity. So far, more than 26 helipads have been constructed by the state government in districts.