The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) North Bengal has urged the Centre to upgrade Bagdogra airport with an overhauled infrastructure and night-landing facility for an improved air connectivity between North Bengal and the rest of the country. Placing the confederation’s demands before the Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati here, the vice chairman of CII-North Bengal, Anand Mittal, also sought introduction of morning return flights from Bagdogra to Delhi and Kolkata, besides flights between Bagdogra and Kathmandu. A five-member CII team met the Union minister yesterday at Bagdogra airport lounge on his way back to New Delhi from Gangtok. The minister, accompanied by Joint Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation Usha Padhee, had come to Gangtok to inspect infrastructure and facilities at the newly built Pakyong airport. “Siliguri, close to Bagdogra airport, is not just the gateway to the North East, it also shares boundaries with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. It is the second largest city in West Bengal and its importance as a major trading centre is growing every day,” Mittal said.
The town also attracts countless domestic as well as foreign tourists, said Mittal. “It is high time that Bagdogra airport should grow in size to cater to the growing needs of Siliguri and North Bengal as a whole. The upgraded Bagdogra airport will certainly serve as a fillip to businesses in the region which in turn will boost the local economy,” the former chairman of CII-North Bengal, Ratan Kumar Bihani, said.