SILCHAR, April 3 - In a major development, the Ministry of Defence has given clearance to extend the watch hour for departures and arrivals of civil airlines at Silchar Airport.
�In view of the requirement of night connectivity to south Assam despite manning constraints, watch hour at Silchar airport is being extended up to 8 pm from its present timing of 6 pm with effect from March 26,� the order issued from the Ministry of Defence said.
However, according to Nand Kishore Deoli, Director of the Silchar Airport at Kumbirgram here, people of Barak Valley shall have to wait for at least two months before this order becomes operational.
�We have been trying to drive home this much-needed extension. Even though we did not receive the order officially, it is good to learn that the Ministry has nodded in the affirmative. But there are issues of deployment of additional CISF personnel to monitor the security arrangements during the night and also the respective airline companies shall have to apply for a plan at the slot allocation section for the night slots to fly the airlines from here which needs some time,� the airport Director said.
Meanwhile, expressing happiness over the development, Dr Rajdip Roy, general secretary of State BJP said that technical upgradation for night landing of flights at the Silchar airport was done in 2006. But to start civil aircraft during night hours in a defence airport, approval from the Ministry of Defence and adequate availability of CISF personnel was required.
�We are happy that the Ministry has approved the extension of the watch hour which will enable the flights to operate during night hours. This will be a huge advantage for people to take a flight to other parts of the nation during night hours without much hassle. The commercial viability will prosper once the flights start operating during night hours,� Roy claimed.