India has sought 52 acres of land from Bangladesh to expand the runway of Maharaja Bir Bikram airport in Agartala.
Indian online media outlet Live Mint, carrying an Indian private newswire IANS news, reported on August 7 that the second busiest airport in the northeast India was currently operating on 509 acres of land just along the Bangladesh border.
The report added that Airport Authority of India director Bipin Kant Seth said they had requested the Tripura government to take up with the central government the issue of requirement of the additional 52 acres of land from Bangladesh to expand the runway.
The report also stated that Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb confirmed that the state government had taken up the matter with the central government, which already submitted a proposal before the Bangladesh government.
‘The additional land sought falls at Hirapur village of Brahmanbaria district of eastern Bangladesh. But we would come to know about nature of the land only after carrying out a survey,’ the report quoted a senior Tripura transport department official as saying.
‘By the end of 2019 or early 2020, Agartala airport would become the third international airport in the northeastern region after Guwahati and Imphal,’ said Tripura transport and tourism minister Pranajit Singha Roy, the report added.
‘Flights can then be operated between Agartala and Dhaka, as well as other Bangladeshi cities like Chittagong and Sylhet,’ he was quoted in the report added.
On August 1, New Age broke the story that India proposed to expand its Agartala airport into the Bangladesh territory in Brahmanbaria.
India, which already has obtained transit and transshipment facilities, has made the proposal at several meetings in the past one year.
The foreign ministry held a meeting in October 2018 with other relevant ministries and intelligence agencies to examine whether or how Bangladesh could share its land with India for the expansion of Agartala Airport in Tripura which was renamed as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport on August 7, 2018.
The foreign secretary, Shahidul Haque, argued that Geneva International Airport falls partly in Switzerland and partly in France.
Tripura’s the then king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur built the airport in 1942 where three airliners now run on an average 14 flights on the Agartala–Kolkata, Agartala–Guwahati and Agartala–Delhi routes.
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