GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal laid the foundation stone for the new integrated terminal building of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport adjacent to SOS Road in the city today.
To be developed at a cost of Rs 1,232 crore, the new terminal building will conform to GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) 4-star rating. It will have 64 check-in counters, 20 self check-in kiosks, eight immigration counters, eight customs counters, six arrival carousels, ten escalators, a travellator, 25 elevators, 16 self-baggage drop counters and 20 aircraft parking bays, among others.
Raju in his address lauded the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the initiative and said that during the last three years of the NDA government, the civil aviation sector recorded the fastest growth, both internationally and domestically.
�From not being even in the reckoning, we have become the fastest growing aviation in the world and the third nation in the world in domestic traffic. Till the time the NDA government came to power, only 73 airports in the country had commercial flight connectivity. But within three-and-a-half years, 18 more airports have already started functioning under the present government,� he said.
Raju said both the Central and State governments would work as a team to make great developmental strides in all spheres in the country. �Governments have to work as a team. When the State governments and the Centre work together, nothing can stop India�s progress,� he added.
Exuding confidence that the new initiative would help in realisation of the growth potential of the State and forging better economic ties with the Southeast Asian nations, Sonowal said that transportation and connectivity were the two most important means for economic prosperity.
�The Government of Assam accords top priority to improve communication and engages in faster development of road, rail and air linkages besides internet connectivity. With better connectivity, Assam will have greater opportunity to connect with the ten ASEAN countries and other Southeast Asian nations. We have 800 million people in and around us in the southeast. This is a great market and through implementation of the Act East Policy, we want to take the development forward,� he observed.
Terming it as a golden opportunity for the people of the Northeast, the Chief Minister said that such an imposing infrastructure for air connectivity would transform the development narrative of the region.
He also requested the Union minister to take appropriate measures for transforming the LGBI airport as an �all-weather friendly airport� so that flights could take off and land in a hassle-free manner throughout the year.
The city side of the new terminal building will be aesthetically landscaped with lush green areas. It will have green areas within and outside, connecting passengers to nature. A small internal forest feature, bamboo artefact and a craft village are integrated into the overall design, highlighting the rich ethos and culture of the northeastern region.
An efficient solid waste management system, reuse of treated water for flushing and horticulture purpose, rainwater harvesting with sustainable urban drainage, and use of efficient water fixtures would be a few other green features of the project.