Lalmonirhat, Sept 26 (UNB) - Lalmonirhat Airport remains unused for the last five decades as authorities failed to take any initiative to make it usable for boosting economic activity in the region.
Abandoned after the partition of this Subcontinent in 1947, the airport land is now used as a farmland under the supervision of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF).
During the Second World War, the then British ruler built the ‘Lalmonirhat Airport’ on some 1,166 acres of land. In 1958, the airport had launched its operation for a short range of area.
After Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, a decision was taken to turn it into a BAF headquarters, but there has been no initiative so far to implement the decision. The abandoned airport has a four-km long runway, a huge tarmac, a hangar and taxiway.
The BAF authorities initiated an agricultural project on the land in 1983 and it is being used as an agricultural farmland since then. Cattle farms are also operated there under the BAF supervision.
If this airport could be brought back to life, experts said, the people of 13 countries, including Nepal, Bhutan and India, can come to visit Bangladesh at minimum costs.
A source at the Maintenance Unit of Lalmonirhat Air Force, wishing anonymity, told UNB that the government of Bhutan has kept the airport on its wish list for use, but there has been no progress in this regard as there are some complexities between the two countries over the airspace.
The airport can be used if the governments of three countries—Bangladesh, India and Bhutan—can take a joint initiative to use it under a tripartite deal.
Lalmonirhat Municipality Mayor Riajul Islam Rintu said, “Once the airport resumes its operation, development activities in the region will get a tremendous boost.”
Sirajul Haq, director of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lalmonirhat, said economic activity in the region will be spurred if the airport goes back into operation.