Sikkim created aviation history on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first ever airport of the state at Pakyong in East Sikkim.
This is the first airport in Sikkim and 100th in the country. With the inauguration, Sikkim has now put itself in the aviation map.
The Greenfields Airport at Pakyong, around 30 km from capital city of Gangtok is expected to improve connectivity in the area and benefit the people of the State in a big way.
The Pakyong Airport has been built at a total area of 201 acres at an altitude of 4500ft at an estimated cost of Rs 605 crores and the terminal building is spread at an area of 3000 square meters.
The inauguration function was also attended by the Governor of Sikkim Ganga Prasad, Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly KN Rai, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Commerce Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of State for Development of North Easter Region [DoNER] Dr Jitendra Singh, and Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology SS Ahluwalia among other dignitaries.
On the occasion, the PM unveiled the plaque of the Pakyong Greenfield Airport thereby declaring the airport open for operations. A book titled ‘100 Airports of India’ by AAI was also released by Modi. Union Minister for Commerce & Industries and Civil Aviation also presented a memento to the PM.
Addressing a huge gathering at St Xavier’s School playground at Pakyong in East Sikkim, Narendra Modi said that it was the historic day for the people of Sikkim and also an important for the nation.
While appreciating the national beauty and richness of Sikkim, the PM stated that everyone loves the glory and beauty of Sikkim.
He expressed that the operation of airport in the state would make the life and journey of the people more convenient and would save the time and money of the people. He said Pakyong airport has also been connected with Udan Yojana of the central government and the centre has the vision to make air travel accessible and affordable for common people of the country. The Prime Minister further said Pakyong airport will have regular flights to Kolkata and Guwahati and efforts were being made to connect it with other parts of the country and neighbouring nations.
The Prime Minister said Pakyong airport is also an example of unique engineering marvel. He congratulated all engineers for doing wonderful work.
Modi said 35 airports were made operational in last 4 years among 100 operational airports of the country. He stated that only 65 airports were made in 67 years in the country but 35 airports were made in just four years in the country. He expressed that the airport would help the people of Sikkim to increase their income and will open new gateway of opportunities for local youths.
He said Sikkim is already a popular tourism destination and now the operation of this airport will further boom the tourism in the state. He stated that the government would continuously work to strengthening the other modes of connectivity in the state.
The Prime Minister congratulated Sikkim and its people for being the model of organic farming state. He also appreciated the Sikkim government for making Sikkim an open defecation free and plastic-free state.
In his address, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling expressed deep gratitude to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Sikkimese people for the gift of air connectivity to the state. He expressed that Sikkim has made a significant entry into the flourishing aviation sector of the country.
Union Minister for Commerce & Industries and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu said that the new airport was a gift by the Prime Minister to Sikkim. He expressed that it also marks the beginning of a new era in the aviation history of Sikkim and that it will boost connectivity, tourism and trade by linking this prodigious state to the rest of the country by air. He added that this will greatly decrease travel time which will benefit the tourists and the locals in the state.