Agartala: Lack of land availability has emerged as one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the path to reviving old airports, Union Minister of State Road Transport, Highway and Civil Aviation General VK Singh said on Monday. 

Singh, who is on a two-day Tripura tour, reviewed the status of under-progress highway projects and assured the state administration officials of approving a slew of projects if the proposals are placed in time

Briefing the media persons after the review meeting, General Singh said, “We shall work on the issue of airports where flight operation is suspended for long. But for that, the state government also has to play its part by providing land to the central government. Once the issue of land constraint is resolved, we shall work on it seriously.”

Speaking on the issue, MP from East Tripura Parliamentary constituency Rebati Tripura said that the airports of Kamalpur under the Dhalai district and Kailashahar under the Unakoti district have been out of operation for a long time and the government is keen to reinstate flight and chopper services to improve state’s air connectivity.

“Both the airports are very old and to resume flight operation, we need certain issues to be fixed and expansion of space is one of them. The Kamalpur airport has some space, but Kailashahar is surrounded by several important infrastructures. On the northern side there is a river, while on the southern side there is a highway,” said Tripura.

Both airports were established after Tripura was included in the Indian union. “All the railway stations that were used by Tripura for domestic transport fell on the Bangladesh side when the state was included in India. To make sure that Tripura gets adequate supply and connectivity remains unhampered, the first Congress government established the airports in Kamalpur, Kailashahar and Khowai. A makeshift airport was established at Teliamura Hrangkhawl para,” a former Minister and Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee President Birajit Sinha informed this correspondent.

Meanwhile, General Singh also took stock of several highway projects running at par in the state. “There are several state highways which need proper maintenance. We have sought the Union Minister’s intervention to extend financial support from infrastructure development funds. Apart from that, several aspects about the introduction of new technologies, straighten highways in consultation with the forest department and mitigate landslides to avert any halt in traffic,” said Tripura when asked about the meeting.

General Singh, however, said, “The pending works will be completed by January next year. The rainy season impacts construction works and this is the root cause behind the delay.”

Later, Singh chaired a review meeting of NHIDCL officials. During his visit to Dhalai, officials of all the concerned departments remained present along with MP Rebati Tripura.   

Also read: Ex-Tripura CM Biplab Deb’s security cover downscaled: Police

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