DHUBRI: A new era of development will be ushered in Dhubri district with the re-opening of Rupsi Airport near Dhubri soon. Dhubri was one of the few places in the entire north-eastern region and country having four modes of communication – road, rail, river and air during the pre-Independence era. But after the partition of the country, one after another services were suspended with hardly any hope of re-opening them.
The river port in Dhubri was closed in 1965 after the Indo-Pak war and rail communication remained suspended from 1988 to 2011 while Rupshi Airport was closed in 1983.
However, after a prolonged movement, rail services from Dhubri Station were restored in 2011 while the river port was completed and made operational at Free India Ghat in Dhubri town last year. The river port, however, is yet to be formally inaugurated and commissioned on paper.
“It is after 36 years that Rupshi Airport, built during World War II, will be re-opened under the Prime Minister’s ambitious project Udan 2. This will usher new vistas of development as fast connectivity and communication are the two pre-requisites for socio-economic progress,” BJP State vice-president Bimal Oswal said.
Oswal, who also spearheaded a movement to re-open the Rushi Airport by forming Rupsi Airport Revival Demand Committee (RARDC) in 2007, being president of the committee all along mounted pressure on the ministry to re-open the airport. A reputed businessman and social activist of Dhubri, Bhagawati Bajaj reminiscences the days of flights from Rupshi and said that it was in 1983 that the last flight took off from Dhubri for Guwahati.
“I went to see off my sister and she was one of the passengers of the last flight of Vayudoot. There were regular flights in the Rupsi-Guwahati-Calcutta route by Sulekha and other private air services. We used to read newspapers here published from Calcutta in the morning itself. But suspension of air service and other communication brought economic disaster to Dhubri district,” Bajaj added.
Talking to The Sentinel, secretary of RARDC, Jyotirmoy Chakraborty said that Rupshi Airport was very strategically located and one of the finest and important airports in the north-eastern region. Chakraborty informed that Rupshi Airport had 1,800 metres runway and within a quick span time, it was thoroughly re-built at the cost of nearly Rs 100 crore.