GUWAHATI, July 30 - The Assam government has demanded that the Centre should take immediate steps to improve air connectivity between Guwahati and the South East Asian countries. The State government has also stressed the need for reviving the airstrips used during the World War II.
State Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told The Assam Tribune that the State government wanted overall improvement of air connectivity in the entire Northeast region and the issue was raised in a recent meeting organised by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry on regional connectivity.
Patowary, who represented Assam in the meeting, said that the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport should be improved immediately. He said that though an international flight of Air India was introduced, that has also been withdrawn. He said that as the Government of India is keen on implementing the Act East Policy, international flights should be introduced immediately from Guwahati to the South East Asian countries. He said that early morning flights, at least from Guwahati to Delhi, should be introduced.
The Minister said that during the meeting, he also demanded increasing the number of flights to Dibrugarh and Silchar and reintroduction of flights to places like Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Tezpur, etc. If such flights are commercially not viable, the Government of India should release subsidy for the same and if required, the State government can play its part. He said that a number of airports and airstrips, including the Rupsi and Margherita airports and a good number of airstrips used during the World War II, are lying unused for years and those can be revived for improving air connectivity in the State.
Similarly, helicopter services can be introduced to connect places like the headquarters of the hill districts, he added.
Patowary revealed that the Union Civil Aviation Minister has assured that he would visit Assam along with a team of senior officials to assess the situation on the ground and explore the feasibility of implementation of the proposals forwarded by the State government.