Airport and good road links for Sikkim

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Gangtok, Mar 14 (UNI) Sikkim's two bottlenecks to developments - lack of air link and poor road links - have been accorded the topmost priority in the 11th five-year plan, said Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission today.

'' In the 11th plan, we have attached very high priority to address the connective links of Sikkim, '' said Dr Ahluwalia in his inaugural address of the International Florishow at Saramsa Gardens, 15 km away from Gangtok.

'' We have given high priority to upgrade the Sevoke-Gangtok-Nathu La road, '' said Dr Ahluwalia.

The NH 31A, the sole link of Sikkim, starts from Sevoke in Silguri up to Gangtok covering a distance of 114 km.

The 54 km Gangtok-Nathu La road will also be doublelaned to meet the demands of border trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission said the establishment of Pakyong airport is in the agenda of the 11th Five -Year Plan.

Sikkim does not have any air link at present and the nearest airport in Siliguri is 125 km away from Gangtok.

The above two connectivity links are also important for perishable products like horticulture of Sikkim to reach the market in time, said Dr Ahluwalia.

Regarding the hydro-power thrust of the Sikkim Government, Dr Ahluwalia said, '' As the utilisation of the hydro-power takes place, it will not act as the stimulus for the state but will also provide a stream of resources for other developments. '' Dr Ahluwalia said the eco-tourism of Sikkim develops in a manner which creates sustainable revenue for the people.

'' The Sikkim Government had good track record in the 10th Five-Year Plan and has very ambitious goals in the 11th plan and the Planning Commission will be supporting to ensure the targets are met, '' the Deputy Chairman said.

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