Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Sikkim’s first-ever airportat Pakyong on Monday. The Prime Minister arrived in Sikkim on a two-day visit on Sunday.
He will also address the people at the St Xavier’s School at Pakyong after inaugurating the airport.
The Prime Minister reached in an MI-8 chopper from Bagdogra and was received by Governor Ganga Prasad, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and others at Libing Army Helipad. He was given a gun salute by the Army there.
From the Army helipad, Modi’s entourage travelled around 5km to the Raj Bhawan where he stayed for the night. A large number of people carrying colourful flags gathered at both sides of the road amidst rain to get a glimpse of the Prime Minister who also waived them back from his vehicle.
Later at Raj Bhawan, Modi met BJP leaders and representatives of various social organisations.
During the two-day visit, Modi will inaugurate the Pakyong greenfield airport, around 33 km from Gangtok on Monday. The airport will circumvent the need for a five-hour journey through mountainous roads and bring citizens of Sikkim closer to the state capital.
Located around 60 kms from the Indo-China border, the airport is strategically relevant from a security point of view. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will also find this airport convenient for landing and taking off, Union Minister for Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh, said on Sunday.
The establishment of the airport is expected to provide major impetus to tourism, with Sikkim being perceived as one of the most popular destinations for tourists all throughout the year. It is also expected to cause a significant reduction in travel time for tourists, who earlier had to board from Bagdogra in West Bengal.
Built at an estimated cost of over Rs 605 crore, the Pakyong Airport is a new distinction for Sikkim, which has, in the last three to four years, achieved the distinction of becoming the first “Organic State” and also the first “Open Defecation Free” (ODF) state of India.