Meghalaya: Umroi airport project likely to be delayed due to fund shortage


SHILLONG, July 9, 2018: The further expansion plan of Umroi airport in Meghalaya's Ri Bhoi district for landing of big aircraft is likely to be abandoned because of funds constraints.

Meghalaya High Court, in an order passed recently, has stated that the state, after a survey by an expert body, found the cost for removing obstacles in three clusters is Rs 7,000 crore, which is not possible for the state to spend because of limited resources.

The case was registered as a public interest litigation (PIL) and taken up by the court on the basis of reports about inconveniences to people of Meghalaya.

"The Airports Authority of India, in its affidavit, pointed out in 2017 that for making the airport fully functional, there is requirement of removing the obstacles in clusters-I, II and III," the court said.

According to some, spending Rs 7,000 crore just for making one airport fully functional is not a favourable move because such a huge amount will be better utilised if the government invests for construction of new airports in the state.

It was informed by the technical experts of the AAI that after becoming fully functional, the short or medium-haul aircraft such as ATR 72 and Q400 type of aircraft can easily land at Umroi airport.

It was also brought to the notice by the technical experts that commercial airlines are buying ATR 72-600 aircraft in large numbers.

The court also said that a consensus has emerged that the existing airport with a fully functional instrument landing system (ILS) will be suitable and it may lead to increased connectivity of Shillong to metro cities of India. It was also informed that there has been a gradual shift in the aviation sector to connect the smaller airports with the bigger airports with ATR-type aircraft.

The AAI officials also informed that steps were being taken for installation, testing and calibration of ILS and due certification will be obtained from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The state government also confirmed that they would take expeditious steps for removal of obstacles in cluster II and III and obtain necessary clearances if required.

The state authorities, present in the court and headed by chief secretary Y. Tsering, said the state is committed to see that the airport at Umroi is made fully functional.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: Airports Authority of India/ Trip advisor