Saturday, August 22, 2009

90 percent of Sikkim Govt works at Pakyong Airport completed

GANGTOK, August 21: Ninety percent of the works to be undertaken by the State Government Departments to remove the encumbrances such as trees, shifting of electrical transmission lines, shifting of rural water supply pipe lines, relocation of chortens etc at the under construction Green Field Pakyong airport site have been completed.
This was reviewed during the second meeting of the Project Implementation Committee for Construction of Pakyong Airport, which was chaired by the Chairman of the Committee Karma Gyatso today at the airport site.

During a meeting held with the representatives of the Airport Authorities of India (AAI), the Central government agency responsible for construction and operation of the airport, Mr. Gyatso said many departments had succeeded in sticking to the deadlines set in the previous meeting despite periodical disturbances by seasonal rainfall. At the same time, he said that the State government was very serious about the airport project completion time and that any delay would not only mean lost economic opportunities but also cost escalation.
Mr. Gyatso, who is also the Additional Chief Secretary cum DC, DPER & NEC instructed others lagging behind to take up their tasks with renewed vigour, keeping in mind that the top priority to the project accorded by the State government.
The meeting was held today after spot inspection of the airport site by the committee members.
“From the view point of the AAI representative, it emerged that their main concern is the diversion road which is yet to be made fully operational,” said a press statement issued by the State Transport Department.
“Roads and Bridges department had completed the formation cutting of the road on schedule but because of the incessant rainfall they have asked time up to September 30 to fully make it an all weather road. By that time all the remaining encumbrances such as shifting of devithan will also have been take care of, leaving the airport site free to the contractors to undertake their tasks in right earnest,” it further said.

The AAI also had no objection to the new deadline as their representative GD Gupta said that in any case because of the rainfall no serious work can be taken up until the monsoon rainfall recedes, it is informed.

The District Collector (E), D. Anandan informed the members that land required by AAI to the extent of 197.72 acres has been handed over to the AAI, already which was also confirmed by the AAI representative in the meeting. Double laning of approach road to the airport and upgradation and beautification of the Pakyong-Gangtok road was also discussed and request made to the concerned departments to make plans accordingly so that when the airport becomes operational these should also be made fully functional. The members felt that with the airport in place many VIPs and high end business/tourist clientele are likely to visit the State and as such it is important for the State already known as ‘happening State’ in the country, to project the right image of progress and development to these dignitaries.

According to the AAI representative, the schedule date of completion of the run-way is January, 2011 and rest of the buildings and other infrastructure facilities will be in place by January, 2012.
The Member Secretary of the Committee Karma N. Bhutia (Secretary, Transport department) informed those present in the meeting that the Executive Director (Construction) AAI in a recent meeting with him in Delhi had expressed his appreciation to the State government and the local people for the effort put in to remove the hurdles/obstacles, as quickly as possible and the high rate of success achieved, thereof.

The committee held its first meeting on July 15, 2009 after which a preliminary report was submitted to the State government on July 27 duly indicating the progress and status of the airport construction project, it is further informed