SHILLONG: The Meghalaya high court has asked the state government to identify land for construction of a Greenfield airport in the state.
A Greenfield airport in Meghalaya seems necessary as the Shillong airport cannot be extended to accommodate landing of bigger aircrafts.
This directive was passed by a division bench of the Meghalaya high court headed by chief justice Sanjib Banerjee while hearing a PIL on the matter.
“The state, in consultation with AAI or even the officials stationed at the Umroi airport, should make an attempt to identify a few pockets of land and, thereupon, AAI may be invited to give a preliminary opinion as to whether any of such pockets would be feasible for a Greenfield airport project,” the Meghalaya high court said in an order.
However, the Meghalaya high court clarified that it will not interfere or impose its will if the state and the union governments are reluctant to set up a new airport in the state.
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But a new airport close to Shillong may give a fillip to the state and its development initiatives, the Meghalaya high court observed.
At present, ATRs and smaller aircraft like Bombardiers are landing at the Shillong airport.
The runway of the Shillong airport is surrounded by hills that do not make it feasible for large aircrafts, the Meghalaya high court stated.
On the other hand, the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport at Guwahati in Assam is about 140 kms away and over 3-hour drive.
Meanwhile, the Shillong airport is about 30 minutes from the city, the Meghalaya high court added.
The Meghalaya high court will next hear the matter on May 9.