GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the first international flight connecting Guwahati and Dhaka – capital of Bangladesh — at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport here on Monday. The Spicejet flight is the first flight to be operated under International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS) which would fly daily.
Now it would be in the fitness of things for the LGBI ‘Immigration and Customs’ to ensure the best of reception to all passengers. This is more so the case as first impression counts. Of late, there have been 'reports of alleged high-handedness by some of the ground staff personnel during the routine check-in and check-out monitoring of passengers and their belongings.
Notably, the ‘International Air Connectivity Scheme’ is the result of the Chief Minister’s request to the Centre to consider connecting Guwahati to the capitals of ASEAN and BBN countries through a scheme similar to the UDAN with viability gap funding (VGF) whenever needed.
The Assam government has committed Rs 100 crore per year for three years under VGF. Another flight connecting Guwahati-Bangkok is also likely to be started in the next few months along with flights to Kathmandu, Yangon, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur.
Saying that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government has boosted the connectivity of the North East region, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asserted that direct air connectivity of Assam with all the capitals of South East Asian countries is the goal of the State government, stated a release.
Referring to the gross neglect of NE region during the previous governments, Sonowal hailed Prime Minister Modi’s exemplary steps to bring rapid and holistic development of the region. The Prime Minister has started a new narrative for the region by terming NE as Astalaxmi and coining the slogan “A for Assam” and through the ‘Act East Policy’ new avenues were being opened for linking the region with South East countries while giving access to these markets, Sonowal said.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal further said that because of the connectivity thrust of both the Central and State governments, farmers of Assam have been able to export their produce to the markets of Singapore, and Abu Dhabi among others through cargo flights and this has enabled the farmers here to expand their horizons. Likewise, people working in all sectors must strive hard to excel in their respective arenas and establish themselves at world stage through the Act East Policy.
Referring to Prime Minister Modi’ motto of “transformation through transportation”, the Chief Minister highlighted the different initiatives to boost connectivity of the region through waterways, roadways and airways while underlining the State’s potential to become connectivity hub of the entire SE Asian region.
Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner in India, Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur hailed the historic moment of connectivity between the two regions and said now patients would travel to Guwahati from Bangladesh for treatment instead of other big cities and tourists from the country would also visit Assam and North East for experiencing the natural beauty here.
Minister for Industry and Commerce Chandra Mohan Patowary, and Secretary of Civil Aviation Department Pradip Singh Kharola also spoke at the programme.