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In October last year, I was happy to hear the news on the telly about a spanking new airport at Pakyong, near Gangtok, in Sikkim. My wife and I had made the somewhat arduous journey to Gangtok back in 1996, taking an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri from Kolkata. And then enduring a five-hour uphill bus journey from Siliguri to Gangtok, past the meandering emerald green waters of the Teesta.
I’ve always wanted our family to visit Sikkim—and the prospect of a direct flight from Kolkata was alluring. The airport is, in many ways, an engineering marvel. Perched between the Himalayan ranges at 4,500 feet above sea level, the land for the airport was carved from a mountainside using modern engineering methods. Built at an estimated cost of Rs 605 crore, the airport is expected to boost tourism, trade and commerce, and connect the North-Eastern region to the rest of the country and also to neighbouring countries such as Bhutan and Nepal.
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