By: Milotpol Choudhury
The Chief Minister N.Biren has divulged in the Assembly that the Govt. has sent a proposal to civil aviation ministry to resume Imphal – Silchar Air service. This is definitely a right proposal particularly for the people of the newly created district of Jiribam.
Imphal Airport was served by the then Bharat Airways which later merged with Indian Airlines, presently known as Air India since the mid fifties and the sub-name for Imphal as IXI was coined in those days which is still used in Airline vocabulary and with that Air service Kolkata was connected to Imphal via Agartala and Silchar and the route (Sub-name CCU-IXA-IXS-IXI). Silchar Imphal thus existed in the opening days of Indian Air Service.
After the opening up of Air service to Private players. Deccan Airways started low cost. Air service on Imphal Silchar route regularly followed by Kingfisher Airline. The service was commercially viable but because of the closure of the Kingfisher Airline the service also stopped. Kumbhirgram the airport of Silchar is only 20 km from Jiribam. And for the last few years the people of Jiribam and adjoining area are facing huge problem for reaching Imphal, their capital for emergency and particularly the old and infirm are reaching Imphal by Air Via Guwahati or Kolkata with huge cost. The actual flying time between Silchar and Imphal is not more than twenty minutes but if one has to take the road transport it takes almost a whole day to cover the distance of nearly 220 K.M. The road passes through several high hills and one cannot expect a shorter and comfortable journey.
Moreover it is the duty of the state to create facility for the people within its political boundary to reach their capital in shortest possible time otherwise political admistrators fail to administer properly the plans of the Govt. In case of people of Jiribam they are more dependent on Assam for their various needs and supports than their own state.
The program of UDAN (ude desh ka aam nagrik) as declared by the Modi Govt. has created an opportunity for the ordinary citizen to take advantage of Air travel for necessity at low cost and the time and distance of Air travel between Silchar and Imphal is such that as per UDAN scheme the fare should be below thousand rupees and at that fare the service shall operate with full capacity.
This is a long pending demand of the people of Jiribam in particular and the Manipuri people in general in the Barak Valley and adjoining Tripura. Now it is hoped that the present pro-active government headed by N.Biren will not rest by sending the proposal only it will make the air service a reality.