Silchar (Assam): Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has asked the Assam government to make an “in-principle application” in the prescribed form for setting up of a greenfield airport at Cachar, BJP MP Rajdeep Roy said on Friday.

The state government will make the application in a few days and, after all the formalities would be over, the airport will be built within three years, asserted Roy who is the local MP.

RELATED | Tea plantation cleared for airport that was not sanctioned: Sushmita Dev

He said that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had written to Scindia on June 12 regarding completion of land acquisition for the airport, following which the Union minister replied on Thursday asking the state government to make the “in-principle application”.

Roy read out both the letters at a press conference at Silchar, the headquarters of Cachar district.

Confusion prevailed over the greenfield airport as Scindia, a few days ago, had informed Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev that no proposal has been received for its construction from the Assam government.

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“However, if any such proposal from any airport developer or the state government is received, the same would be considered as per the Greenfield airports Policy, 2008,” Scindia wrote to Dev in reply to a letter of hers.

Subsequently, the chief minister on June 11 claimed that land acquisition has to be completed by the state government before submission of a formal proposal to the Centre for developing a greenfield airport.

Roy on Friday said that the development of Barak Valley, of which Cachar district is a part, should be the goal of all and when the government has taken an initiative in the greater interest of the people there, everyone should help in implementing it without creating obstacles.

“The opponents should know that the decision to build a greenfield airport in Silchar was not taken overnight. In January 2020, an expert team from the Airport Authority of India visited three tea garden areas in Cachar,” he said.

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After about six months, the team submitted a report which stated that out of those three places, Doloo tea garden is suitable for building the airport, the BJP MP said.

The state government had initiated the land acquisition process in Doloo but due to various reasons, it could not proceed in full swing before April this year, Roy said.

Land acquisition of Doloo for the construction of the airport had led to protests by tea garden workers but the government had assured them that no worker will be evicted from their homes and there will be no job cuts.

The state Cabinet recently decided to pay a total of Rs 12.63 crore to 1,263 families of workers of the Doloo Tea Estate as a goodwill gesture for their cooperation in the development of the airport.

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