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Sikkim airport to become operational by 2017

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Jan 10 - Sikkim�s first greenfield airport at Pakyong will be operationalised by 2017, which will provide a direct connectivity to the land-locked State and also help boost tourism, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday.

�By 2017, the greenfield airport at Pakyong will be functional. It got delayed because of the rehabilitation process. Once the airport is functional, the State will have direct connectivity,� Singh, who is Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, told reporters here.

The Rs 300-crore Pakyong airport is being constructed by Airport Authority of India on a 200 acre land. The airport is being built at an altitude of 4,700 feet which will be one of the five highest airports in India.

Presently, the nearest airport to Sikkim is located 124 kms away at Bagdogra in West Bengal.

The Minister was addressing media about the national conference on sustainable agriculture to be held in Gangtok from January 17-19.

Referring to other major projects to be implemented in Sikkim, the Minister said, �There is also a plan to connect Sikkim with the country�s rail network and after the present government took over under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this will be the third Northeastern State after Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to be brought on the rail map of India.�

Singh also referred to the plan for constructing alternative road highway to Gangtok via West Bengal and two ropeways which will serve the purpose of both tourism as well as transport.

On organic farming, Singh said the Northeastern region has the potential to be developed as a hub of organic farming and this is possible only when the enormous resources available in the region are sought to be channelised in a scientific and systematic manner.

�Promotion of organic products, with Sikkim as the nodal State, will not only help in generating revenue and employment opportunities but will also be a great booster for the Government of India�s �Act East Policy,� he added. �PTI

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