Cooch Behar (WB): The air service between Cooch Behar and Kolkata will resume soon, a senior minister has said.
State Forest Minister Hiten Barman said that he spoke with the state Transport Department's secretary, B P Gopalika over the issue and was told that the air service will commence soon between Cooch Behar and Kolkata via Bagdogra.
At the beginning of the tourist season in the region the air service will encourage tourists of the country and abroad to visit north Bengal.
According to a new plan, a small aircraft is going to fly on the route. The helicopter, planned earlier, was to carry 11 passengers only but the aircraft will carry 18 passengers, he said.
Cooch Behar MP Nripendra Nath Roy said that he raised the issue in the Lok Sabha at least 12 times. He also drew attention of the Union Civil Aviation Minister to reintroduce the air service between Cooch Behar and Kolkata.
"I will raise the issue again in the next session of the Parliament which will commence on 21 November," he said.
Criticising the Trinamool Congress led state government, the Forward Bloc MP said the government promised that the long abandoned air service will be resumed before the Puja festival but they failed.
The general secretary of the Cooch Behar District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rajendra Kumar Baid said they have sent a memorandum to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh urging him to revive the Cooch Behar Airport.
The CM had announced in July that an assistance of Rs 25 crore will be extended to widen the runway of the Cooch Behar Airport. On 25 July, a two-member team from The Pavanhans Helicopter Limited visited Cooch Behar Airport and expressed their satisfaction examining its infrastructure.
On 11 September, the state Transport Department inked an agreement with the Pavanhans Helicopter Limited over flight between Cooch Behar and Kolkata via Bagdogra. It was then assured that the service may revive before the Pujas but it is yet to gain momentum.


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