Itanagar, February 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday laid the foundation stone for construction of greenfield Airport at Hollongi near here and inaugurated an upgraded and retrofitted Airport at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh.
Speaking at a public function at IG Park here, the prime minister said this was probably for the first time that an airport was being inaugurated in a state while the foundation stone of another was being laid on the same day.
Inaugurating the Tezu airport in the Lohit district through remote, the PM said the airport will connect Guwahati, Jorhat and Hollongi.
He said fruit and flowers of the region can reach any market of the country in a few hours with the Tezu airport becoming functional at a cost of Rs 125 crore.
Terming tourism industry as a money spinner for the state, the prime minister said that with the coming up of the greenfield airport and rail network, tourism industry would flourish and many unemployed youth would get employment opportunities.
Modi said flights under the UDAN scheme will start from Tezu airport.
The greenfield airport at Hollongi will be a great help to the people Itanagar as at present the nearest airport to Itanagar is at Lilabari in Assam at a distance of 80 km.
The airport at Hollongi will reduce the distance by a fourth. In addition to providing better connectivity to the region, the airport will also unravel the tourism potential of the state.
The airport will boost the economic growth of the region and will be of strategically important to the nation.
The airport will have various sustainability features like green belt along approach road to act as noise barrier, rain water harvesting, use of energy efficient equipment, officials said.
The ambitious greenfield airport project in the state has been pending for several years due to controversies over site selection, they said.
Initially, Karsingsa was selected as the site for the greenfield airport but due to some technicalities, the Directoroate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had asked the state government to find some other site, officials said.
On the request of the state government, a Central joint inspection committee visited Itanagar to study the feasibility of the site during 2017 and recommended Hollongi for the greenfield airport. (PTI)