Pakyong Airport is the Greenfield Airport the State Capital Gangtok. It is India’s 100th Operational Airport in India. It is approximately 4500 ft from the sea level. One of the 5 biggest Airports in India. First Greenfield Airport in the Northeast. Only Airport in the State. One of the tallest reinforced soil structures in the world.
Background of the Project
Sikkim was the only state which didn’t have any operational Airport of its own. They either used the Bagdogra Airport, which is 124 Kms in the Neighbouring State of West Bengal or the Paro Airport in the Bhutan. So in 2008 the Cabinet Committee gave the approval for the development of the Pakyong Airport. The Foundation stone was laid by the then Civil Aviation Minister, Prafulla Patel.
The Airport was estimated to be complete till 2012. But due to the agitations from the local people this was halted till 2014. The local people demanded proper rehabilitation and security. Later in 2014 the AAI took initiative, discussed with the people and gave some part of the compensation. This helped in starting the work again. But in 2015 the villagers again protested and the project was again halted. Later in 2015 the state Government signed a MOU with the AAI and promised to help the villagers in safe and securely shifting and rehabilitating. This helped the AAI to finally start it’s work till the end of 2015. Due to this protests and the landslides upslope of the runway resulted in the Escalation of its cost from 309 Crore Rupees to 605 Crore Rupees.
On 24th September 2018, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the
Airport. And flights will start commencing from 4th of October between Guwahati and Kolkata.
Last year we saw some tensions going on regarding the Doklam region with China. Doklam is the region with 3 International Borders. And it is near to this Airport within 54kms. So this Airport might play an Important Strategic role in Future.