Tura, Meghalaya, Oct 23 (UNI) Inaugurating the second Airport in Meghalaya at Baljek here today, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said it will encourage tourism, greater intra-regional movement and business, reinforcing the development of the north east region as a whole.
Ms Patil is the second president to visit the Garo Hills. Dr Rajendra Prasad had visited it 56 years ago in 1952. The inauguration is also significant from the point of view that Baljek will now become operational.
She congratulated the state for focussing on building, critical infrastructure for development and said progress and prosperity cannot be realised without adequate infrastructure and a network of connectivity.
''In a large country like India, and especially in areas which are relatively remote, connectivity by road, rail and air is vital for its development. The opening of this airport should encourage tourism, which is an important engine for growth,'' she said, adding this would also help people from other parts of the country to visit the beautiful Garo Hills to enjoy its great scenic beauty, cultural heritage and interact with the local population.
Ms Patil said the airport will also make it possible to send some of the local produce, especially perishable goods, to new markets.
''I am told that the flowers - orchids and Anthuriums, some of my favourities, grow well in this part of Meghalaya. We would see these flowers from here going to different parts of India and also overseas, one flight starts operating.'' A Cessna aircraft with 426 seats and a caliberation at Dornier aircraft, whose seats are adjustable, and three helicopters are to take off from Guwahati to Baljek.
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