It should go down memory lane as a Red Letter Day, as the development is path-breaking.
The new cargo complex at Tripura-capital Agartala marks yet another achievement of the Double Engine Government in the state, which for long was a communist forte and hence stayed away from many progressive strategies.
The cargo complex was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore and would be able to cater to 40,150 metric tonnes of cargo per annum. Importantly, it has facilities like cold storage for perishable items, facilities for dangerous goods and a very spacious storage area.
The new Cargo Complex was built at around 1,272 square meters.
Initially, Indigo Airlines was included in providing cargo services. It is expected that 40 150 MT of goods in a year can be transported through the new complex, which is around ten times higher than in previous years.
The new cargo complex at Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram airport, the second largest in the northeastern region after the one at Guwahati airport, was inaugurated on April 28.
Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials said that there had been no outgoing cargo operations since December 2022 as the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security had shut down the old cargo facility due to the absence of security vetting, creating difficulties for post offices, courier services and other trade and export related services.
Tripura Transport Minister Sushanta Chowdhury and senior AAI officials inaugurated the new cargo complex, which would be maintained and operated by AAI Cargo and Logistics Services, a subsidiary of AAI, for smooth and hassle-free cargo movement.
The starting of cargo operations would act as a catalyst for growth and expedite the movement of perishable goods, the Airport Director KC Meena said.
Sushanta Chowdhury said the integrated model cargo transport services would benefit the local traders as local products can be transported to national and international markets through the cargo transportation services of this airport. This cargo service will play an essential role in the state’s economic development through the seamless transportation of goods.
He also stated that Agartala Airport had been developed in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans and vision to significantly improve the communication system in Tripura and develop state-of-the-art air traffic management.
“Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh from three sides. For this reason, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for the development of Rail and Air connectivity in the State”, Chowdhury said.
Moreover, air services between Agartala and Chittagong in Bangladesh will also start in the first week of June.
Later initiatives will be taken to connect Singapore, Bangkok and other cities by air directly, sources said.
The Minister also mentioned that a bronze statue of Maharaja Bir Bikram would be installed in the new terminal as it is not feasible to shift the existing statue of the Maharaja installed at the old terminal building. The Minister said the expenditure of the new statue installation would be around Rs 35 lakh.
The Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport in Agartala became ready to operate international flights after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new integrated terminal building on January 4 last year.
According to AAI officials, the MBB airport, located 20 km north of Agartala city, is the second busiest airport in the northeast after Guwahati airport for handling aircraft and passengers.
Built for Rs 500 crore and with a built-up area of 30,000 square metres, the new terminal building at the Agartala airport has been designed to handle 1,500 passengers, including 200 international passengers, during peak hours.
In January 2022, inaugurating the new terminal at Agartala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his Government came up with the Mantra of HIRA – H to Highway, I to Internet way, R to railways and A to Airways for improving the connectivity in Tripura and other states in the region.
“The Agartala airport is a blend of Tripura’s culture, natural beauty and modern facilities. It will play a big role in enhancing air connectivity in the North East. We are progressing in full earnest to make Tripura the gateway to the northeast,” Modi has said, adding enhanced investment in railways, roadways, and air link would turn Tripura into a new hub of business and industry as a trade corridor.
The BJP returned to power in the February elections with a convincing win.