Meghalaya : Rs 8000 crore needed for cluster cutting at Umroi airport

File image of Umroi Airport . Image credit : Bar and Bench

Shillong (Meghalaya),July 03 : The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has stated that cutting of cluster-I at Umroi airport was required before permission could be granted for landing of regular turbojet (Boeing aircraft) at the airport.

This was stated by DGCA lawyer N Mozika during hearing of the case at the division bench of Meghalaya High Court .
Further, it was submitted by the DGCA lawyer that cutting of cluster-I would entail an expenditure of Rs 8000 crores.

“Without cutting of cluster-I, it will not be possible to grant permission for landing of regular turbojet i.e., Boeing Aircraft at Umroi airport,” the DGCA lawyer said.

P Yobin, the Amicus Curiae in the matter, pointed out that similar situation exists at the airports of Mizoram, Sikkim and Leh where DGCA had already accorded approval and Boeing Aircrafts are landing.

In this connection, the Meghalaya High Court has directed the DGCA to submit the list of obstacles at the Umroi airport, which according to them, are required to be removed before sanction could be accorded to the Airport Authority of India for landing of turbojet at the airport.

The High Court also asked the DGCA to produce the entire record regarding grant of sanction for landing of turbojet at the three airports – Mizoram, Sikkim and Leh.

As far as the claim by DGCA that cutting of cluster-I would entail an expenditure of Rs 8000 crores, the High Court sought details of the amount in the form of an affidavit.

The matter will again come up for hearing on July 15.

Umroi airport in Ri Bhoi district, about 35km from here, was constructed in the mid-1960s and became operational in the mid-1970s.

An undue delay to expand the Umroi airport and make it fully functional, compelled the Meghalaya High Court to take a suo motu petition in 2016, and subsequently passed several orders directing both the State government and the Centre to ensure that works to expand the airport should progress without fail.

At present the airport has a 6,000 feet runway and it required to be extended by another 1,500 feet as part of the infrastructure upgrade work. The total area of the airport is around 224 acres.

The Airports Authority of India, in its affidavit, pointed out in 2017 that for making Umroi airport fully functional, it requires huge amount for removing obstacles in three clusters-I, II and III.

By special arrangement with Highland Post

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