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Tue. Dec 6th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar in the Arunachal Pradesh capital. The PM said that Donyi Polo Airport will be the fourth operational airport in Arunachal Pradesh, taking the total count in the northeast region to 16.
He had laid the foundation stone for this airport in February 2019 and the work was completed in time despite Covid. After the inauguration, PM Modi spoke about this changed work culture of laying the foundation stone and then inaugurating the same project himself.
He said the launch of this airport is a “resounding reply to the critics who tried to term the foundation stone of the airport an election gimmick.”
Mentioning that Arunachal is neither undergoing elections nor there are any future elections in the state, he said the priority of his government is the development of the state.
“Earlier, remote border villages were treated as the last village. Our government worked by considering the villages in the border areas as the first village of the country. This has resulted in making the development of the northeast a priority for the government. Be it tourism or trade, telecom or textiles; drone technology or Krishi UDAAN or airport connectivity, the priority is development of the Northeast,” Modi said.
He added from 1947 to 2014, only nine airports were built in the northeast. “In the last eight years, seven more airports have been built in the region that have doubled the number of flights connecting the northeast India. The Donyi Polo Airport is becoming a witness to the history and culture of Arunachal Pradesh.”
Locals had for a long time been seeking an airport for Itanagar and the plan for the same was conceived in 2005. Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone on February 9, 2019. Airports Authority of India (AAI) completed the project in time despite the Covid pandemic. Built at a cost of Rs 645 crore by the AAI with assistance from the Centre and the state government, this airport can handle 300 passengers during peak hours and is equipped for all weather operations. Its 2.3-km-long runway will allow Airbus A320/Boeing 737s to operate from here.
Earlier this month, the Union cabinet had approved naming the new greenfield airport at Hollongi as “Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar”. The name reflects people’s reverence for the sun (Donyi) and moon (Polo).
“This rapid development of airports in the region has been possible due to the special emphasis of PM Modi on enhancing connectivity in the northeast. Airports in five northeastern states — Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland — have seen flights take off for the first time in 75 years,” said a government official.
According to the AAI, the new airport is spread across 694 acres at Hollongi, 25 km from Itanagar. Along with a suitable apron for parking of three B-A-320 type of aircraft, the airport also has a special apron to accommodate four Mi-17 helicopters. The airport is equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS) with CAT-I Approach Lighting System for all weather operations. “The airport will act as a catalyst for the growth of trade and tourism in the region and also provide an opportunity for local produce like the world-famous orchids of Arunachal Pradesh to reach any part of India within hours,” the AAI official said.

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