Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Monday proposed to build an aerotropolis in Assam which would bring huge benefits to the region in terms of civil aviation and air connectivity. Sinha said this to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal during a meeting at the Brahmaputra state guest house here, requesting him to allot 2,000 acres of land within an hour-long distance from Guwahati for the purpose.
Sonowal assured all cooperation in this regard and said that it would be a huge opportunity for the northeast to open air links with the Southeast Asian countries. An aerotropolis is an airport centric metropolitan hub where infrastructure and economy are all based on access to the airport which serves as a commercial point like any traditional metropolis which contains a central city commercial core area and commuter-linked suburbs.
Saying that the Act East Policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been at the forefront of the development agenda of the state, Sonowal stated that the proposed aerotropolis would bolster the air connectivity in the region and open the northeastern region as the business hub of Southeast Asia. He also requested the Union Minister of State to send officials from the Union Civil Aviation Department for conducting an aerial survey of the entire stretch of Brahmaputra from Sadiya to Dhubri for identifying suitable locations to set up airports in the state.
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Saying that the northeast has the potential to be the growth engine of the country by opening road and air links with the Southeast Asian countries, Sonowal urged the Union Minister of State to start direct flights on the Guwahati-Bangkok and Guwahati-Singapore routes, which would speed up the momentum of economic growth of the region by increased tourist inflow and trade activities.
Referring to the government plan of dredging the Brahmaputra River from Sadiya to Dhubri, the Chief Minister said that increased depth of the river would enable plying of cargo ships on the Brahmaputra through Bangladesh to Chittagong port for which an agreement with the Bangladesh government has already been reached.
The Union Minister also urged the Chief Minister to expedite work on a metro train in Guwahati so that access to the proposed aerotropolis and airports can be improved.