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Fund cuts may delay Sikkim airport

By SPl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 5 � Huge budgetary cuts and diversion of allocated funds are likely to have an adverse impact on development of the Northeastern region�s first greenfield airport at Pakyong, in Sikkim as a portion of the funds have been diverted for construction of the Tirupati Airport.

The Pakyong Airport, envisaged to put the tourist destination State of Sikkim on the civil aviation map of the country, suffered the first jolt when the budgetary support to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the Pakyong project was slashed to Rs 42 crore from Rs 280 crore sanctioned in 2012-2013.

Next came the news that the AAI has diverted Rs 10 crore for development of the Tirupati Airport, leaving only Rs 32 crore for the Pakyong Airport.

The AAI had projected a requirement of Rs 460.21 crore for various projects under the grants-in-aid scheme, but the Centre slashed it drastically.

Chairman of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, Sitaram Yechury, briefing newsmen, said that they have conveyed to the Central Government that such a drastic cut in budgetary support for airport infrastructure development of the country would definitely slow down the ongoing projects, especially in the North East.

The committee hopes that ongoing as well as future projects are not delayed for want of funds. Slow progress of projects in case of North- eastern region is a cause of concern. The panel recommends the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take necessary steps urgently to finalise the plan at the earliest to spend the allocated funds during the year.

The airport, spread over 400 hectares, is located at Pakyong village about 13 km south of Gangtok. It is the first Greenfield airport to be constructed in the North East. At present, people of Sikkim have to travel 124 km to the nearest airport at Bagdogra in West Bengal.

The project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in October, 2008. The Rs 264-crore project has already missed its first deadline of 2012. The airport is now likely to become operational by the end of December 2014.

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Fund cuts may delay Sikkim airport

NEW DELHI, May 5 � Huge budgetary cuts and diversion of allocated funds are likely to have an adverse impact on development of the Northeastern region�s first greenfield airport at Pakyong, in Sikkim as a portion of the funds have been diverted for construction of the Tirupati Airport.

The Pakyong Airport, envisaged to put the tourist destination State of Sikkim on the civil aviation map of the country, suffered the first jolt when the budgetary support to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the Pakyong project was slashed to Rs 42 crore from Rs 280 crore sanctioned in 2012-2013.

Next came the news that the AAI has diverted Rs 10 crore for development of the Tirupati Airport, leaving only Rs 32 crore for the Pakyong Airport.

The AAI had projected a requirement of Rs 460.21 crore for various projects under the grants-in-aid scheme, but the Centre slashed it drastically.

Chairman of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, Sitaram Yechury, briefing newsmen, said that they have conveyed to the Central Government that such a drastic cut in budgetary support for airport infrastructure development of the country would definitely slow down the ongoing projects, especially in the North East.

The committee hopes that ongoing as well as future projects are not delayed for want of funds. Slow progress of projects in case of North- eastern region is a cause of concern. The panel recommends the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take necessary steps urgently to finalise the plan at the earliest to spend the allocated funds during the year.

The airport, spread over 400 hectares, is located at Pakyong village about 13 km south of Gangtok. It is the first Greenfield airport to be constructed in the North East. At present, people of Sikkim have to travel 124 km to the nearest airport at Bagdogra in West Bengal.

The project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in October, 2008. The Rs 264-crore project has already missed its first deadline of 2012. The airport is now likely to become operational by the end of December 2014.

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