CM takes stock of progress of airport construction, likely to be completed by Aug ‘22

HOLLONGI, 28 Dec: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday visited the construction site of the greenfield airport here along the boundary with Assam and took stock of the progress of work.

The airport is supposed to be completed by 22 November next year, as per the original agreement with the construction agencies. However, the central and state government authorities are pushing for its commissioning by August next year.

Once commissioned, the airport will be the first in the mountain state with a runway of 2,300 metres, eligible for landing and taking off of Boeing 747 aircraft.

Speaking to reporters at the runway site, Khandu expressed satisfaction over the “progress on the ground despite the hurdles posed by the Covid pandemic during the last two years.”

He informed that, of the 2,300-metre runway, work on 1,500 metres has been completed.

“This is a dream project of entire population of Arunachal Pradesh. We need to thank the central government for extending all-out support in fulfilling the dream. We also need to appreciate all the agencies that are working day and night to meet the deadlines,” the CM said.

Khandu assured that the prefabricated terminal building will be in place by early next year.

“The prefabricated terminal building will be temporary while construction of the permanent building will continue. Once the permanent structure is ready, the temporary structures will be utilized as a cargo area,” he explained.

He further informed that, keeping in view the possibilities of future expansion, the government has acquired about 500 sq mtrs of land beyond the runway, while the Kokila river, which runs along the airport’s boundary, is being diverted.

“There are no external hurdles and work is going on smoothly. There are a few internal issues that the agencies are sincerely working on,” Khandu said.

Later, the chief minister held a review meeting with the project stakeholders, during which he was informed that the passenger terminal building of approximately 4,100 sq mtrs will be designed so as to handle 100 arriving and 100 departing passengers at a time, with scope for future expansion.

While acquisition of required land (5 acres) on the Assam side, shifting of the 132 kv Power Grid line and diversion of the Kokila river are under process, about 74 percent of the work has been done on the four-lane approach road of about 4 kms to the airport, which will be completed by 31 January next year.

The executing agencies informed that works were affected due to Covid-19, particularly in the second phase of the lockdowns imposed by the governments, and due to unavailability of construction materials and parts of machineries in nearby areas, and restricted movement. The work agencies could not maintain sufficient manpower at the project site due to fear of Covid-19 breakout, they said. Also, shifting of the Chakma habitats and high-tension power lines along the proposed runway alignment was delayed due to the pandemic.

Khandu was accompanied by MP Tapir Gao, Home Minister Bamang Felix, MLAs Biyuram Wahge, Jikke Tako and Hayang Mangfi, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, and other officials. (CM’s PR Cell)