Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday reviewed the proposed expansion of Baljek airport in Garo Hills with officials of the state transport department via video conference.
Deputy commissioner Ram Singh also joined the discussion from Tura via video conference.
The chief minister said that the department and the deputy commissioner have been directed to undertake identification of additional land as required by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
“Discussed matters related to the Baljek Airport. Dept & DC have been directed to immediately undertake identification & taking over possession of additional land as required by @AAI_Official and obtain EOI for flight routes from flight operators. @HardeepSPuri @MoCA_GoI https://t.co/PhDkE0rHnn,” chief minister Sangma tweeted.
Discussed matters related to the Baljek Airport. Dept & DC have been directed to immediately undertake identification & taking over possession of additional land as required by @AAI_Official and obtain EOI for flight routes from flight operators.@HardeepSPuri @MoCA_GoI pic.twitter.com/PhDkE0rHnn
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) September 21, 2020
On September 3 last year, the defunct Baljek airport was inspected by the chief minister, along with officials of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and other ministers, MLAs and state transport officials, and discussed about measures to speed up intervention to make the airport operationalize.
Sangma had said last year that after handing over the airport to the AAI, chopper service may be operationalized and extension of run way will follow to allow more aircraft to land in future.
AAI Regional Executive Director, Sanjeev Jindal had also stated that Garo Hills has a lot of potential in agriculture, and tourism, adding once the airport is handed over, the AAI will work out how it can first develop for chopper service, and then for Dornier or may be ATR aircraft under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
The proposal to construct Baljek airport was sent to the Central government in 1983, and the project was sanctioned in 1995.
The airport was built at a cost of Rs 12.52 crore. The Baljek airport, inaugurated in October 2008, was designed to handle a 20-seater aircraft.
However at present, no scheduled commercial air service is available at the Baljek Airport.
Baljek airport is about 33km from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills district, and 310km from Shillong.
The 3,300 feet runway will be extended by another 1,200 feet. Around 58 acres of additional land was acquired at Rs 2.58 crore for the expansion of Baljek airport.