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Rio pulls up Dimapur Airport authority

By EMN Updated: Oct 18, 2013 12:51 am

Staff Reporter

CHIEF Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday paid an early morning, and an unusual, visit to the State’s only airport in Dimapur and bluntly made known his disapproval of its dilapidated conditions to the airport authorities. The Chief Minister’s visit also coincided with a social work he himself had initiated to cleanse the airport and its surroundings.Rio minced no words in his observations relayed to the red-faced airport authorities, who are otherwise notorious for their bureaucratic snobbery.
“We should feel ashamed (of the condition of the airport),” the Chief Minister told the Director of Dimapur Airport, Manoj Kumar.
For obvious reasons, the airport authorities had initially refused to let the accompanying journalists inside the terminal. Only after the intervention of SP and ASP Dimapur, the gates were opened to the newsmen.
The Chief Minister was brusque in pointing out the haphazard wiring, clogged drainage, windows sealed with bamboo slits, unhygienic toilet facilities and uncollected waste materials dumped in the backyard, among others.
“I am very upset with the present situation,” he told reporters later.
Rio reminded the airport authorities that Dimapur airport represents our way of life and character. “We cannot run away from our responsibilities. But things are not in order and we feel very ashamed,” he said.
While during the interaction, the airport authorities and the contractors went into a verbal tussle, the CM promptly cut them short and asked, “Are you proud of the only airport in our state? Are you doing it justice?”
“I request the airport authorities to have the sense of responsibility,” Rio said while reminding them that he had paid a similar visit sometime last year. “I even went to the extent of replacing some of the paintings in the VIP rest room (last year). And we hoped that it would be a lesson for them, a wake up call.
“But things are still not in order. So we came today,” Rio said during his interaction with newsmen.
“New building and projects will come later but we have to take good care of what we have now,” he reasoned.
This was an apparent retort to the Airport Director Manoj Kumar’s announcement that a masterplan for a new building with modern terminal facilities has been drafted and expected to be cleared in the next financial year.
The proposed project, according to the Director, also involve strengthening of the runway that would necessitate the CRPF to part with 8.5 acres of land and the Assam Rifles with another 8 acres of land.
Rio once again assured the airport authorities that the State government was ready to extend any kind of help and support. “No, we have always been ready. We have submitted so many requests over the years which you have always rejected,” Rio tersely reminded.

By EMN Updated: Oct 18, 2013 12:51:05 am