Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday inaugurated the first greenfield airport of Sikkim at Paykong. Sikkim's dream of having an airport came true nine years after a foundation stone for it was laid here, around 33 km from state capital Gangtok, in 2009.
Addressing a large public gathering on the occasion, the Prime Minister described the day as a historic one for Sikkim, and an important one for India. He said that with Pakyong Airport, the country has hit a century of airports.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the young cricketer from Sikkim, Nilesh Lamichanay, who recently became the first cricketer from the State to score a century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The Prime Minister said that Pakyong Airport would greatly ease connectivity to Sikkim. He said that in order to ensure that it is useful to the common man, this airport is part of the UDAN scheme.
The Prime Minister said that emphasis is being given to enhance both infrastructural and emotional connectivity in the entire North Eastern region, at a rapid rate. He said he has personally visited the North Eastern States several times to review development work. Besides this, he added, Union Ministers also regularly visit the region. He said the results of this are visible on the ground. He mentioned enhanced air and rail connectivity, better roads, big bridges etc.
The Prime Minister said that out of 100 airports in the country today, 35 have been operationalized in the last four years.
The Prime Minister mentioned Sikkim's progress in organic farming. He mentioned that the Union Government has initiated the "Mission Organic Value Development for North Eastern Region."
The first commercial flight from Pakyong would begin from October 4.
Pakyong airport will pave the way for direct connectivity to Sikkim and is the 100th airport of the country.
Located around 60 km from the Indo-China border, the airport is spread across over 201 acres and is located on the top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level, Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava said.