ITANAGAR, Dec 3 - Under attack post his reported recommendation to the Prime Minister to develop Lilabari airport in Assam till Greenfield airport comes up in the State, Arunachal Governor JP Rajkhowa has moved the Centre for developing a minimum of three to four airports to cover the landlocked hilly State.
A communiqu� from Raj Bhavan today said: Continuing his effort to address the communication bottleneck particularly in air connectivity, Governor JP Rajkhowa has approached the Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pasupati for a minimum of three-four airports to cover most of the districts of the State.
In his letter to the Union Minister on Nov 13, the Governor impressed upon him that Arunachal is the largest among the eight Northeastern States with difficult mountainous terrains, absolutely poor road, rail and air connectivity but very high tourism potential, in addition to being a very important strategic frontier State having international borders with Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
The Governor called for constituting a high-powered Expert Site Selection Committee in consultation with the State Government for the purpose.
Reiterating his stand on the Greenfield Airport issue, the Governor clarified that based on suggestions from many quarters regarding alleged malpractices in the land acquisition on behest of some powerful political leaders, he had suggested for a thorough scrutiny of all documents of the land owners by CBI and meanwhile upgrading adjacent Lilabari Airport in Assam, keeping in mind likely delay in constructing the airport at Hollongi.
The Governor further made it clear that he had not recommended for scrapping of Greenfield Airport for the State or for abandoning Hollongi site. Expressing dismay on the selective leakage of his letter to Prime Minister in the media to give an impression that he had recommended for scrapping of the only Greenfield Airport Project for Arunachal Pradesh to benefit his home State, the Governor said that in order to dispel public apprehension on possible abandonment of the project, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India must finalise all necessary steps on top priority basis for setting up the airport at Hollongi or Karsingsa-Banderdewa or any other suitable site.
Acknowledging the letter from the Governor, the Union Minister on November 19 informed that the matter is being examined for appropriate action. The Governor had also requested the Prime Minister on the issue.