Itanagar By Pradeep Kumar
Appreciating Airports Authority of India for awarding proposed Greenfield Airport project at Hollongi, Civil Aviation department (CAD) Minister Nakap Nalo has advocated strict weekly monitoring of Greenfield airport construction work to ensure its 30-month completion target.
The project has been awarded to Ahmedabad-based M/s Dinesh Chandra R Agrawal Infracon Pvt Ltd, he said, adding the monitoring team would comprise of himself, secretary and director after inspecting the site spread in 676 acres area from Hollongi to Kokila bordering Assam with director Tamiyo Tatak and other officers, including OSD Nabu Chokar on Sunday.
He asked the director to call a coordination meeting of GM or chief engineer of the firm and the AAI authority here soon to hold a discussion on the ambitious project that would include a 2800-sqmtr runway. This runway would facilitate landing to wide-bodied airliner made by Airbus.
Informing that land compensations have been paid to all local inhabitants, Tatak said that the GoAP would build the boundary wall, approach road; provide electricity and power supply for the rest to be executed by the AAI. The AAI in-charge here are AGM Rehman and AGM (civil) Govinda Raju, he added.
Interestingly, the vast area included cultivable land, local houses of Nyishi, Chakma, Boro, Miri and Karbi tribals and few ponds but there was no sign of either any signboard or foundation stone as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid its digital foundation stone from Itanagar IG Park this day a year ago. A foundation stone was laid at Karsingsa on 20.02.07 by then Home Minister Shivraj Patil but the site was changed later considering huge hills of the area.
Informing that Karbis have one hamlet each at Hollongi and Kokila, one Biren Basumatari,64, whose forefathers lived in this land and enrolled in electoral rolls, complained that the Boro inhabitants were not paid land compensation. But he said that he had shifted to Assam side with no facility received from Arunachal Govt.
While the present Balijan-Hollongi-Itanagar double road has been approved for early construction, OSD Chokar said that the present Itanagr-Holongi road is about 33-km but another short road will be developed for the airport.
With consistent persuasion of present Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Union Finance Ministry on 14.01.19 had approved the greenfield airport to be built at Hollongi, 25-km away Itanagar at an estimated of Rs 1055 crore.
Though this project calls for proactive role of the CAD also for expanding air connectivity in this land-locked hilly state, but intriguingly though bifurcated from civil and food supply department (CFSD) in 2017 as an independent department has no staff, vehicles, POL provision and office accommodation. Those who are working in helipads across the state are still CFSD employees and paid by the department. This means they are shouldering additional burden of CAD without any accountability.
This raises a million dollar question will the name sake CAD be able to monitor the works once it starts. This is because “Adhocism has been thumb rule of consecutive Arunachal Pradesh governments since the state graduated to parliamentary form of democracy in 1975” said Arunachal Pradesh Panchayat Raj Parishad secretary general Sangha Tagik.