April 30, 2012
Chief Minister discusses development of aviation in the state
`We want the new Kolkata airport to become functional before Durga Puja and we are in talks with the Centre. We also had positive talks with the minister regarding the proposed helicopter services in our state to promote tourism and therefore planning to build helipads at Durgapur, Haldia, Sudarbans and Digha` said West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee after the meeting with the Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh who had come to Kolkata on Monday to take stock of the pending work of the modernization process of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
The work which began in 2008 is still in process. Rs 2300-crore modernization project for the Kolkata airport will see the airport as a south-east-Asian business and tourism hub apart from connecting eastern-India with rest of the country. The modernization project will include a new building for the fourth terminal and revamping the existing ones. Different Airlines would also be allotted their own space in the airport. The idea is to use the airport as national and international terminal.
Chief Minister said the state government is planning to speed up the modernization work of the airport and plans to make the airport functional before the Durga Puja to accommodate more and more tourists. Ms. Mamata Banerjee said, `We have already requested the Planning Commission to sanction some funds as we would like to use the money to improvise the existing airport at Coochbehar and extend in order to accommodate more planes. Simultaneously, I have also asked the authority to have a look at the Malda airport and decongest the same`.
Referring to introduction of helicopter services Ms. Banerjee said, `We are in talks with the Centre and also discussed the matter with the minister. Our idea is to develop helicopter services in Balurghat, Malda, Sundarbans, Haldia and Digha`. She said it will not only be helpful to generate business opportunities in Bengal but will flung-open-doors for employment also.