Marking a new milestone in the country’s aviation sector by bringing Sikkim into air network, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday attacked the previous governments accusing them of having neglected the northeast and said in the last four years his government has opened 35 new airports.
“Today, it is not only a historic day for Sikkim but also for the country. After the inauguration of the Pakyong airport here the country has got its 100th airport,” he said after dedicating Pakyong Airport to the nation in Sikkim.
Slamming the previous governments, the Prime Minister said that in the last four years his government has dedicated 35 airports to the nation.
“After independence till 2014, we had only 65 airports. That means in 67 years they developed only 65 airports, less than one airport in an year. But in last four years we had dedicated over 35 airports that means about nine airports every year,” he said.
Emphasising on the connectivity in the northeastern states, Modi said that with the opening of the new airport in Sikkim, the distance between other parts of the country have been reduced.
Modi also said that in Sikkim and the northeast, work is on to expand both infrastructure and emotional connectivity.
The Pakyong Airport is Sikkim’s first airport, located at a height of 4,500 ft above sea level. The airport is expected to give a huge boost to Sikkim’s connectivity, especially tourism. As of now, the nearest airport for Sikkim is at a distance of 150-kilometres in West Bengal’s Bagdogra.
It is located around 60-kilometres from the India-China border, giving it a huge strategic importance.
Pakyong Airport is part of Modi government’s UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme that aims to provide low-cost connectivity to remote areas.
He said that he himself had come to the northeastern states several times to take stock of the development projects. “And due to my initiatives, every week or second a union minister always remain here in the region.
“And due to this, the development in the region is visible everywhere whether it is Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland or Tripura in the northeastern region.”
Modi said “aeroplanes have reached here (Sikkim) for the first time, rail connectivity has reached the northeastern states for the first time, electricity at many places has reached for the first time, highways are being broadened in the northeastern region, roads in the villages are being built, big bridges over the rivers are being built, Digital India is being spread across the region”.