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PM Modi Inaugurates Pakyong Airport In Sikkim, First-Ever Airport Of The State, 100th Of India

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| September 24 , 2018 , 12:29 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the first ever airport of the state of Sikkim, the Pakyong Airport, 9 years after the foundation stone for the airport was laid in 2009. Before the Pakyong Airport, Sikkim had been the only state in India without a functional airport.

PM Modi inaugurated the Pakyong Airport near Gangtok in Sikkim in the presence of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

At the inauguration, PM Modi said, "Work is progressing at high pace to strengthen both, infrastructural & emotional connectivity to Sikkim & Northeast. I've been here myself to check the development work in Northeast & Union Miniters regularly visit the region."

Built by the Airports Authority of India, Pakyong airport will be the 100th operational airport in India. The first commercial flight from Pakyong will begin from October 4 Pakyong Airport Director R Manjunatha said. SpiceJet will be operating 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights to and from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati on a daily basis.

The airport is expected to boost the tourism by increasing connectivity to the land-locked state and has been built at a cost of Rs 605.59 crore. The tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim has no rail link and the nearest airport was West Bengal’s Bagdogra 125 km away, leaving the state with a sole highway for connectivity with the remainder of the country.

The Pakyong Airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill approximately 2 km above the Pakyong village at a height of 4,500 above sea level. The airport is considered to be an 'engineering marvel' for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation due to the altitude of the airport site, Sikkim Chief Secretary AK Srivastava said.