Conrad K Sangma

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informed the House on Tuesday that the government is working towards creating a 2.2 kilometer plus runway at Baljek airport located at Jengjal in Garo Hills region.

A question was raised by North Garo Hills MLA from Kharkutta constituency Rupert Momin asing about the non-functional Baljek airport. Momin said the airport was sanctioned in 1995 for the cost of Rs 12.52 crore and inaugurated in 2008. “Is there any plan to upgrade this airport in the future?” asked Momin.  

Transport minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare said the department is still working on it since it is a very important airport and will try to get it operational.

Adding in with the transport minister’s reply, the chief minister said the process of land acquisition to expand the runway at Baljek airport is on as they speak.

Sangma said at Baljek, they don’t have the challenge like in Shillong at Umroi airport, where there is a huge mountain that blocks the instrument landing systems operation which actually leads to the inability of larger flights landing.

“We are working towards creating a 2.2 kilometer plus runway in Baljek airport and that process of land acquisition is on. We’re hopeful that things will move much faster,” informed Sangma.

Mawlai MLA PT Sawkmie questioned if there is any subsidy from the Government of India to all the seven flights operating in the state

Lamare responded that all the seven flights that are operating in the state currently is under the UDAAN Scheme. The only flight that is directly involved with the Meghalaya government is the flight from Shillong to Delhi, which is currently under suspension.

Sangma informed that all the other flights are being given Viability Gap Funding under UDAN and have a restriction of 500 kilometers within a radius. Within that radius, the Government of India funds viability gap funding.

Responding to questions on starting international flights, Sangma said to start international flights, firstly they have to declare Shillong-Umroi Airport as an International Airport.

Sangma added that he has had a verbal communication with the minister Civil Aviation, who has stated that, connectivity to Sylhet and Dhaka would be something that would improve the business connectivity as well as tourist connectivity. The chief minister informed the House that they have started moving on that line.

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