Dimapur Airport to undergo major development, says Airport Authority of India official
DIMAPUR — Dimapur Airport will undergo a major development including expansion, and construction of arrival lounge and cargo terminal, to handle the increasing passenger traffic.
This was informed by Director of Dimapur Airport, Geetha Sahu, during the panel discussion on ‘Leveraging Nagaland’s potential by boosting logistics’ at the ongoing second Nagaland International Trade Expo in Dimapur, on Saturday.
Disclosing that the average daily passenger traffic at the state’s lone airport is around 1400, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said the airport will soon be providing an arrival lounge, as per popular demand.
“There are master plans for the airport, where, in phase-1 there will be cargo terminal for which we are looking at the Nagaland government to hand over some land. Some portion is with the CRPF, some with the Assam Rifles and the rest is with the Nagaland population.
“Some encroachment is there, so it is like 135 acres which we are looking at for the first phase development,” she said without providing the exact area of the encroached land.
Urging the state government to assist in funding, she said that the AAI has to step in and invest in terms of equipment and manpower as there is not enough cargo moving through Dimapur.
Once the terminal is in place, the overall logistics of the airport will get a boost, she added.
Fellow panelist Praloy Goswami, Regional Manager of Blue Dart Express Limited, revealed that Blue Dart will be launching its cargo flight from Guwahati from Jan. 29 onwards.
“This will be a big boost and promote trade, and also develop socio economy of the region. This will be the first that Northeast region will have a cargo flight. Whatever was operating before was on-and-off basis, but this will be a daily operation,” he said.
To a question raised by Joint Secretary, Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN), Reny Wilfred, who was also the moderator of the discussion, in regard to operation, Goswami assured that Blue Dart “can handle and has the capacity to handle”.
Informing that the cargo flight has cold storage facility, he encouraged agriculture producers of Nagaland to come forward and collaborate with them, while assuring that Blue Dart will safely and securely handle all shipment.
On whether there was any plan for the cargo flight from Dimapur, he said that after the Guwahati launch, the next logical step would be to extend the service to other parts of Northeast and since Nagaland has immense potential, Dimapur could be the right choice.
Another panelist Ababe Ezung, OSD of Transport department, asserted that airports and railways have to be accessible to the public, pointing out Nagaland remaining disconnected for many years.
Ezung also informed that the state government was looking at the prospect of inland waterways and has two-three projects; the project from Longmatra in Tuensang district to Myanmar border likely to be started this year.
Director (Development) of Industries and Commerce Additional, Lipongse Thongtsar, revealed that the state government has initiated ‘State master plan for logistics’.
“We are in the process of authenticating and mapping the infrastructure. So far, we have mapped 12 infrastructure (projects). The state government has also formulated state logistic policy which is in final stages of approval. Under this, we are mainly looking at existing infrastructure and building logistic infrastructure. We are looking at identification of development zones in the state. We are also looking at active participation from various sector,” he said.
BAN on Tuli railway station
Meanwhile, the Business Association of Nagas (BAN) requested the Railway authority to upgrade Tuli railway station in Mokokchung district to a fully automated railway station with three-line section and a passenger train with parcel van, from Tuli to Guwahati at least six days a week.
Drawing attention to the potential of Tuli railway station, the association asserted that besides the abundance of mineral resources, the scope of passenger train with parcel van will cater to more than seven districts of Nagaland and beyond.
The association maintained that village council and stake holders/land owners have pledged to fully co-operate with the authorities.
NF Railway Senior Divisional Manager, KK Sharma, in response, said: “We have not explored Tuli station, so we will definitely explore in detail.”
As far as connectivity and logistics in Nagaland is concerned, the SDM updated that they were expecting to connect Molvom and Phirema by the end of this year, and to Zubza a few years later.
“The survey for connectivity from Kohima to Imphal has also started, so a lot of things will happen in years to come,” he informed.