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PM Modi to Inaugurate Donyi Polo Airport in Arunachal; Why It’s a New Flight for North-east

In a key step to boost connectivity in North-East, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the first greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh ‘Donyi Polo’ in Itanagar on Saturday. A government press release stated that the airport’s name reflects the age-old indigenous reverence to Sun ‘Donyi’ and the Moon ‘Polo’ in Arunachal. Pradesh

Developed at a cost of more than Rs 640 crore, the airport will improve connectivity and will act as a catalyst for the growth of trade and tourism in the region, the government said.

An Architectural Marvel Welcomes You

Before the inauguration, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu called the “The Great Hornbill Gate” at the Donyi Polo airport at Hollongi “an architectural marvel”.

The gate was designed by Arunachali architect Aroty Panyang from East Siang district. Khandu inaugurated “The Great Hornbill Gate” on Wednesday.

Better Growth, Connectivity

During peak hours, the Donyi Polo airport can accommodate up to 300 passengers and has eight check-in counters. The airport is designed to accommodate Airbus-320 operations. It is located is only 15 kilometres from Itanagar, the state capital of Arunachal Pradesh. It can also accommodate large aircraft such as the Boeing 747, reports state.

The airport is expected to transform the landlocked state, which borders China to the north and northeast, Myanmar to the east, and Bhutan to the west. Donyi Polo airport holds the promise of improved connectivity, tourism, and economic growth, a report by ThePrint stated.

Prior to the Donyi Polo airport, the state had three airports: Pasighat in East Siang district, Tezu in Lohit district, and Ziro in Lower Subansiri district, which was closed last month.

“Previously, the capital city was not served by an airport. Tourists are currently visiting the western and eastern belts. As a result, the airport will benefit tourism in the central belt,” said Swapnil Naik, secretary at the Arunachal government’s civil aviation department.

In the beginning, low-cost carriers IndiGo and FlyBig will operate flights from Hollongi. IndiGo will begin service on November 28th, with flights to Kolkata and Mumbai every day except Wednesday, the report said.

‘Acting East’

The airport, which was conceived in 2005, received preliminary approval in January 2019. It was finished in September of this year, and the Union Cabinet decided to rename it Donyi Polo Airport, after one of the major indigenous tribal faiths practised in the state.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) built it for Rs 645 crore with help from the central and state governments.

Aaditya Tiwari, who has worked as the OSD to the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, wrote in the India Today that the North Eastern region of India is linked to the rest of the country by a narrow corridor known colloquially as the Chicken’s neck. Arunachal Pradesh is even further north, with the mighty Brahmaputra acting as a great divide. The natural lines of movement were severed after partition, and the northeast region became landlocked. Following independence, this region experienced decades of political conflict, armed conflict, and insurgency. Successive governments attempted to bring political stability to the region by signing treaties with insurgent groups or by electing their leaders.

Historically, the region has been viewed through the lens of security, and development has never been a priority, he explained. “The Government of India’s approach has recently shifted dramatically. The ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policies have shifted policymakers’ perspectives in New Delhi, but prosperity is dependent on political commitment. Pema Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the North East more than 50 times in his eight-year tenure, which is more than all other Prime Ministers combined,” the report said.

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