Shillong: The Meghalaya government on Tuesday informed the high court that some sites have been tentatively identified for setting up a new airport in the state, as the existing facility at Umroi may not be expanded.

Hearing a PIL seeking the development of the existing Shillong airport, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee gave two months to the state government and the Airport Authority of India to report on the progress.

The court had in March directed the state government to file a preliminary report on whether to build a greenfield airport or expand the existing Umroi airport as the AAI had said the extension of the runway at the current facility may not be feasible.

Following the AAI’s indication that a greenfield project could be commenced elsewhere upon 2,000 acre of land being available, the state proposes to invite expressions of interest from the general public by May 15.

“The state also submits that some sites have been tentatively identified and it is for the AAI to take a call upon any favourable response to the invitation for expression of interest, the bench said in an order on Tuesday.

The AAI had reported that the runway at the existing airport may not be possible to expand to accommodate large aircraft.

The state also agreed that the cost involved in “felling the nearby mountains may not yield commensurate benefit”, the order said.

The next hearing for the matter will be held on July 11.

Efforts to expand the runway at the Shillong Airport, located about 30 km north of the city, did not yield any positive results, following which the high court intervened.

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