Kailasahar, Aug 01: In a significant move to bolster air connectivity, the Tourism and Transport Minister, Sushanta Choudhury, announced the construction of a new airport in Kailasahar, the administrative center of Unakoti district in Tripura. The Civil Aviation Authority of India has undertaken the initiative to revive the abandoned Kailasahar airport, which had been non-operational since the mid-1990s due to space constraints.
During a recent visit to the site, Minister Sushanta Choudhury was accompanied by Kailasahar MLA Brijit Sinha, former MLA Mobashwar Ali, Secretary of Tripura Transport Department Uttam Kumar Chakma, DM of Unakoti District Tarit Kanti Chakma, Agartala Airport Director Kailash Chandra Meena, Managing Director of TRTC Sajal Biswas, and SDM Kailasahar Pradip Sarkar, among others. Following the visit, a high-level meeting was convened under the chairmanship of Minister Sushanta Choudhury at the conference hall of Unakoti Circuit House, attended by senior officials from the Airport Authority of India.
Minister Choudhury highlighted the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation’s decision to reopen defunct airports across the country under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme (RCS). The program aims to enhance air communication services at the regional level. He credited the BJP-led government in Tripura, headed by Chief Minister Dr. Manik Saha, and the support of the BJP-led central government for taking significant steps towards the overall development of Tripura and its people, especially the rapid expansion of communication systems.
Minister Choudhury expressed optimism that the people of Tripura would soon enjoy advanced air connectivity facilities with the reopening of Kailasahar airport. He mentioned that a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed with the central government to acquire land for the new airport, following which funds would be released for the project.
The development plan for Kailasahar airport will be executed in two phases. In the initial phase, the airport will be renovated, and a seventeen- or twenty-seater aircraft will be introduced. This flight will operate on routes connecting Kailasahar to Kolkata, Kolkata to Kailasahar, Kailasahar to Agartala, and Agartala to Kailasahar. The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of the current year.
In the second phase, the airport’s runway will be extended by acquiring additional space from the local community. Minister Choudhury acknowledged that the second phase might take longer to complete but assured gradual progress. He expressed hope that the renovation and opening of the new airport would significantly boost the tourism industry, generate employment opportunities, and foster economic development in the region and the state as a whole.
The project involves acquiring 700 meters of land in the northern part of the airport and resettling 22 families to commence the lengthening of the runway. Additionally, 70 meters of land on the western side of the existing airport will be acquired to construct airport authority offices and a car parking zone, with boundary walls planned for the area.
Challenges arise due to the presence of the Manu River on the south side of the airport, making it impossible to extend the runway in that direction. Consequently, land will be acquired on the north side of the airport to facilitate the runway extension.
The construction of the new airport in Kailasahar is expected to significantly improve air connectivity, benefiting not only the local community but also the entire state of Tripura. The government’s initiative reflects its commitment to expanding communication infrastructure and promoting regional development in the region. With the airport poised for revival, prospects for the tourism industry and economic growth in the area are promising.