State's second major airport will be built in South 24-Parganas

States second major airport will be built in South 24-Parganas

Kolkata: Besides giving stress to improve the intra-state air-connectivity with industry and commerce being the thrust areas, the Mamata Banerjee government will set up the state's second major airport in South 24-Parganas considering it to be the closest to Kolkata.

Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi on Wednesday directed DM of South 24-Parganas district to identify requisite land in the district where the new airport can be set up. On the same day, the chief secretary also held virtual meetings with other concerned District Magistrates as the move has also been taken to operationalise the existing airfields at Malda, Balurghat and Cooch Behar.

The move has also been taken to operationalise the airfields including Hasimara in Alipurduar, Charra in Purulia, Kalaikunda in West Midnapore.

According to sources in the state secretariat, the South 24-Parganas authorities have been directed to identify land at the earliest to enable the state government in taking the subsequent measures in this regard where a wide-body and long-haul aircraft like Boeing 777 could land.

As planned, there would be construction of a 3 km long runway with a space of around 150 metre left on both sides of the runway.

It needs a mention that the state government had proposed in the budget to upgrade Andal Airport as an international aviation centre as it will lead to huge investment in the Paschimanchal (western) districts besides generating a huge employment opportunity. Rs 150 crore was also allocated for the upgradation.

"Setting up of the second major airport in South 24-Parganas has nothing to do with the proposal of upgrading Andal Airport as an international aviation centre right at this moment. That (upgradation of Andal Airport) is necessary to boost economy in the western districts while South 24-Parganas has been chosen to develop the second major airport after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International as it is close to the city," said a state government officer.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had stressed on improving the intra-state air-connectivity while addressing the administrative review meeting in Malda on December 8 and she had also announced of developing Malda Airport to a full-fledged one.

Sources said that the state administration has already taken up the matter with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and officials of AAI accompanied by state government officers are scheduled to visit Malda and Balurghat Airport on Monday.

"Balurghat Airport is almost ready as a terminal already exists. The AAI authorities are going to visit the place to identify the necessary infrastructure that further needs to be developed. The feasibility and necessary infrastructure development for Malda would also be looked into," the officer said, adding that recently the concerned authorities had also visited Hasimara and Kalaikunda airfields.

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