November 14th, 2011
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Indian Air Force airstrips to be used by civilians

air force Kolkatta: The Ministry of defense is ready to allow the ministry of civil aviation to use some of its unused airstrips in West Bengal, according to sources. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the need for more such facilities in the eastern part of the country, with China building infrastructure on the other side of the border. It has been learnt that the state government has already taken up the matter with the aviation ministry.

“We shall be interested if any readymade facilities are available. The airport at Cooch Behar was not built by us. It belongs to the ministry of civil aviation. I am also keen to open the airport at Behala. We have never said that we shall build all airports by ourselves. We shall explore all options,” said state industries minister Partha Chatterjee.

However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee  has directed Purulia district magistrate Abanindra Singh to prepare a detail report for setting up an airport at Charra. The Left government had announced the Rs1480-crore Charra Aerotropolis Project four years back.

According to officials, there are over 10 unused military airfields across the state that can be revamped with minimum effort. Nearly all of these were built by British and American forces during the Burma campaign. The land still belongs to the ministry of defence but there is little or no activity at most locations.



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