|Headlines Vol. 1 Issue 30-31||Dec 22-Jan 6 , 1999|
The much-needed and keenly-awaited Lengpui airport in Mizoram was inaugurated by Union Home Minister L. K. Advani recently.This happens to be the first large airport in the country to be built by the State Government and it is the second largest airport in the North-East region. The 2500-metre runway of the Lengpui airport is unique in that it has many hilly streams running underneath.
The airport was constructed at a cost of Rs. 97.92 crore and has been completed in a record time of two years and two months. The construction work was started in December 1995 and was completed in February 1998. The proving flight was successfully conducted on September 1 last.
In the inaugural function, apart from Mr. Advani, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar, Mizoram Governor A. Padmanaban, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga were also present.
The tiny North-Eastern State was in an urgent need of an airport as all its traditional routes with the mainland was cut off due to the partition of the country in 1947. Since then the Mizos were finding it difficult to be in touch with the mainland and it was also hampering the economy of the State. Before the construction of this airport, the capital of this land-locked State, Aizawl was 130 km from the nearest railway head at Bairabi and 205 km from the nearest airport at Silchar.
The peoples full support it received during the construction made the airport one of its own sort. It is heartening to note that the private land holders donated their plots for the construction of the airport. Beyond doubt they set a remarkable example for others. The only compensation paid by the State Government was for the assests created within the proposed site covering an area of 781.83 acres.
Union Home Minister L. K. Advani, speaking on the occasion, remarked that the airport was a Christmas gift to the people of the State. Mr. Advani hoped that the people of Mizoram with the high literacy rate could work wonders and speed up the development work.
Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar informed that the Centre had allocated Rs. 343 crore to develop airports in the North-East. He also assured the gathering that passion fruit, a popular produce of Mizoram would be regularly provided on board the Aizawl-Calcutta flight.
Mizoram Governor A. Padmanaban said the airport would open new vistas for the development and progress of Mizoram. Tourism and exports will get a boost with the operation of bigger aircraft, he felt. Chief Minister Zoramthanga agreed that the airport would help boost trade and commerce. He also thanked the Centre for its generous financial assistance towards constructing the strategic airport.
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