GANGTOK (SIKKIM), Sept 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Sikkim’s first-ever airport tomorrow.
Speaking to media persons soon after his arrival here today on the eve of Prime Minister Modi’s visit, Union Minister for Northeast /DoNER, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is a historic occasion for the entire Northeast and, in fact, for the entire country to celebrate. It has been over 40 years since Sikkim became a part of India, but the entire credit goes to Prime Minister Modi for having accomplished the setting up of an airport in this hill State and bringing it on the air-map of the world, he said.
Elaborating further, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the airport is located at Pakyong, around 60 kms from the Indo-China border, which also makes it strategically relevant from the security point of view. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will also find this airport convenient for the landing and taking off of its aircrafts, he said.
From the tourist point of view, Dr Jitendra Singh said, this is a major booster because Sikkim has been one of the favorite destinations for tourists, almost all throughout the year. With the new airport becoming functional, he said, the travelling time will be get cut down by almost 5 hours because, earlier, the nearest airport to which the tourists could fly down was Bagdogra in West Bengal.
Built at an estimated cost of over Rs. 605 crore, the Pakyong airport is a new distinction for the State of Sikkim which has, in the last three to four years, achieved the distinction of becoming the first “Organic State” of India and also the first “Open Defecation Free” (ODF) State of India.