Baljek Airport: West Garo Hills District Administration so far acquires 1,800 m land

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Meghalaya News 24 Exclusive 

The lone air connectivity to the Garo Hills region — Baljek Airport at Jengjal, over 30 kilometres from Tura remains defunct as efforts are being made to revive it. Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills, Ram Singh said, “The land acquisition for expansion of runway including obstacles clearance is under process. “

“The airport has a total of 2400 m runway as the district administration has so far acquired 1,800 m land, while, another 600 m land is yet to be acquired,” the DC informed.

“The land acquisition is done in three phases, 1200 m in the first phase and then 600 m that comes to 1800 m and now 600 m,” he added.

He, however, expressed hope that the process will be completed soon.

It may be mentioned that in 2020, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed the state transport department and the deputy commissioner have been directed to undertake identification of additional land as required by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

“Discussed matters related to the Baljek Airport. Dept & DC have been directed to immediately undertake identification & taking over possession of additional land as required by @AAI_Official and obtain EOI for flight routes from flight operators. @HardeepSPuri @MoCA_GoI https://t.co/PhDkE0rHnn,” chief minister Sangma tweeted last year.

The airport, initially designed to handle 20-seater aircrafts like the Dornier 228, was inaugurated by the then President Pratibha Patel in October 2008 wherein the first aircraft landed and took off marking Tura in the air connectivity network of the country, for the first time.

Tragically, the airport has been non-functional since then, for reasons best known to the aviation industry and successive governments at the state and Centre. At present, no scheduled commercial air service is available at the Baljek Airport.

Baljek airport is around 30km from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills district, and around 300 km from Shillong.