IAF refutes charges of blocking Kumbhigram runway extension work

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Guwahati, Feb 20 (UNI) The Indian Air Force (IAF) today asserted that it was cooperating fully for the extension of the runway at Kumbhigram airport in Cachar district and refuted media reports of the IAF blocking the work's progress.

IAF spokesperson Wing Commander R K Sisodia said, ''The IAF is fully cooperating so as to enable the Air Force Authorities to complete the extension of the runway at the earliest.'' He, however, added that certain infrastructure development requirements must be met to address the legitimate security and safety concerns of the IAF prior to the demolition of the IAF assets.

''These concerns have been conveyed to the concerned forums.

However, these have not been met despite the personal intervention of Union Heavy Industries Minister Santosh Mohan Dev and senior IAF officials,'' he said.

''Nonetheless, the IAF is hopeful that the work would be completed prior to onset of monsoons,'' the IAF spokesperson added.

He also refuted reports in a section of the media that the IAF's non-cooperation was leading to the delay in extension of the runway.

On the transfer of land between the IAF and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the Kumbhigram airport, he clarified that as per the MoU between the two parties on January 10, 2006, approximately 34 acres land acquired by the AAI for extension of runway would be transferred to the IAF on lease for a period of 30 years on extendable basis, along with newly created assets thereon at a nominal rate of Rs 100 per annum.

UNI SG DPM DB1652

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