October 17, 2021, 10:10 pm

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It is time to reopen the long-closed Ishwardi Airport

Dewan Sabuj, Ishwardi (Pabna): It is very important to start Ishwardi Airport. The airport is not being opened despite the long-standing demands of people’s representatives, foreign nationals, private airlines, Pabna district administration and Ishwardibasi. Victims have expressed the view that the demand for opening the airport has been ignored, wasting time, embarrassment, insecurity and harming the economy. It will benefit local and foreign nationals, businessmen and airlines. Besides, they think that the government will also get revenue
The last United Airways flight landed at Ishwardi Airport in 2014. Since then no more passenger flights have landed. Helicopter rental is often seen fluctuating in the Rooppur nuclear power project under construction. Since the airport is not open, other foreign and important officials of the country, including Russians, have been forced to come to Ishwardi by spending huge amount of money in case of emergency and renting a helicopter. He is going back to Dhaka after meeting or visiting again. The same is true of EPZ’s foreign investors. Everyone is bitter and upset that the plane did not take off despite the airport. In other words, the launch of Ishwardi Airport is an urgent issue and despite the demands of the time, no initiative is being taken to launch it.
According to the documents of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh,
Ishwardi Airport was established between 1940-1945. The airport was used by the United States Air Force in 1945. Later in 1960, work on Ishwardi Airport was started for regular flights. After the construction of the concrete runway in 196, DC-3 and F-27 aircraft used to take off and land. The airport was damaged during the war of liberation in 1971. After repairs in 1972, the Ishwardi-Dhaka-Ishwardi route was launched. At one time there were two flights in the morning and afternoon. Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated regular flights at this airport till 1996
The first airport was closed in 1986 on various pretexts including losses. After a long hiatus, the airport was reopened in 1994 at a cost of about Tk 4 crore. After a long 17 years, in 2013, United Airways started operating flights from Ishwardi Airport. But after 8 months and 11 days, it was closed again on May 29, 2014. No passenger flights have taken off or dropped off at the airport in the last seven years. Occasionally, however, helicopters and Air Force training aircraft are seen using it.
There are several large projects and important institutions, including the Rooppur nuclear power project. Among them Ishwardi EPZ, Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute, Regional Agricultural Research Center, Pulses Research Center, Pabna Sugar Mill, Pakshi Divisional Office of Railways, Alhaj Textile Mill, Thousands of Husking Rice Mills, Auto Rice and Fower Mills, Oil Mills are notable.
At present, more than four thousand foreigners are working in Rooppur nuclear power project, EPZ and other organizations. Foreigners have to travel to Dhaka and Chittagong all the time. Domestic and foreign VVIP ministers and officials are constantly traveling on the Rooppur nuclear project. In some cases, it has been seen that private helicopters are rented at huge cost. It currently takes 8-10 hours to travel from Ishwardi to Dhaka by road due to traffic jam. In addition to the problem of getting a train ticket, it takes 5 hours and again if the train is late. This situation is a waste of time on the one hand, embarrassment
And a huge amount of government money is being wasted due to helicopter rental. However, if Ishwardi Airport is operational, it will save money and time as well as increase foreign investment in various fields including EPZ. And high-ranking officials will have the opportunity to return to Dhaka on the same day after completing their work here and resume their office work.
Area MP Bir Muktijoddha Nuruzzaman Biswas demanded that the airport be reopened. “In the last parliamentary session, I asked for the airport to be reopened soon,” he said. I will also raise the issue in Parliament again during the budget speech.
“We support the idea of ​​establishing an air link between Dhaka and Ishwardi,” Alexei Dairy, vice-president of Russia’s JSC ASE and Russian project director for the Rooppur project, told Ittefaq. It will help our people save valuable time and avoid trouble. “
Upazila Nirbahi Officer PM Imrul Kayes said there was no progress even though the district administration had repeatedly mentioned the importance of opening the airport to the higher authorities.
Mr. Alhaj Khairul Islam, Chairman, Khairul Group of Industries, a prominent industrialist of Ishwardi, said that the launch of Ishwardi Airport is now an important demand. If this is the case, then of course domestic and foreign industrialists will be able to invest more in various institutions including nuclear power plants, EPZs. It takes a long time to get here by road, even though there is opportunity by air, entrepreneurs are losing interest in investing here due to lack of initiative. Therefore, it is very important to start the airport very soon, and the government will continue to cooperate with Ishwardi businessmen.
Ruhul Quddus, site in-charge of the Rooppur nuclear power project, said about 4,000 foreigners working here, especially Russians, were suffering because the airport was not operational. After landing in Dhaka from Russia, they have to face traffic jams. For this reason, the airport needs to be opened quickly.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, Ishwardi Airport is built on 412 acres of land. Its runway is 4,600 feet long and 75 feet wide. Currently the type of aircraft (Dash-6, ATR) used by the airlines of Bangladesh. Ishwardi airport is not suitable for landing them. The length and width of the runway need to be further increased and improved. In addition, the modernization of the airport’s traffic control system and its overall safety needs to be given more importance. This will cost a large sum of money.
Kamrul Islam, General Manager (Public Relations) of US-Bangla Airlines, said the state-of-the-art aircraft in the fleet of Bangladeshi airlines do not have the opportunity to land on the runway at Ishwardi at present. Some development work needs to be done at Ishwardi Airport. If facilities and infrastructure development like other domestic airports in Bangladesh can be ensured, then US-Bangla Airlines will operate flights on this route.

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