The Meghalaya High Court has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to submit before it a list of barriers and hindrances that need to be removed to pave way for the landing of Boeing aircraft at the Shillong airport.
The High Court, while hearing the matter on Tuesday, also directed the regulatory body to produce the sanction record permitting the landing of turbojets at Mizoram, Sikkim and Leh airports.
The division bench, headed by Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal, sought an affidavit on DGCA's expenditure proposal of Rs 8,000 crore to cut clusters of hillock, which could reportedly come in the way of bigger aircraft headed for Umroi airport in Meghalaya.
"The DGCA shall submit the list of obstacles, which according to them, are required to be removed before sanction could be accorded to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for landing of turbojet," the division bench order said.
The AAI had mentioned in its affidavit in 2017 that obstacles in clusters- I, II and III would have to be removed to make Umroi airport fully functional.
The DGCA counsel, on his part, informed the court that it would not be possible to grant permission for the landing of regular turbojet at the airport without cutting cluster-I.
The counsel insisted that cutting of cluster-I would entail an expenditure of Rs 8,000 crore.
An amicus curiae in the case pointed out that similar situations exist at the airports in Mizoram, Sikkim and Leh, where the DGCA had already accorded approval for landing of Boeing aircraft.
The court has fixed July 15 as the next date of hearing in the case.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Transport Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar has said that the state government is keeping other options open with regard to expansion of the runway at the Shillong Airport.
"The state government is yet to take a decision on whether it would want to upgrade the existing airport or build a new one, which entails less expenditure. We are keeping all options open," he was quoted as saying by a local daily.