Staff Reporter 

Dramitse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi asked if the government has looked for other sites since the proposed Pongchula airport was deemed not feasible at the National Assembly yesterday. 

“We have heard there are alternative sites in Yangbari and Chaskhar and one international airport in the east would help bring about balanced regional development besides creating employment opportunities,” he said.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering answered the question on behalf of the information and communications minister who is out to India to launch the Indo-Bhutan Satellite.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering clarified that Pongchula Airport is much sought after and demanded by the people of Mongar and are not satisfied with the report. The preliminary report found that runway was not adequate in length  against the minimum requirement of 2.5km for international standard and 1.5km for smaller planes.

It was also reported that the airport has bad wind direction as it has a crosswind which is dangerous for flying and landing. “Experts recommend a minimum of two to three years to observe and study the wind direction. The terrain has 103 metres difference between the top and the lowest points which either need a wall and levelling or cutting and involve huge expenditure,“ Lyonchhen said.

“Although there are no sites identified we are planning to look for other sites in the east,” he said.  “We’re also thinking of asking experts to redo the survey to confirm as requested by the people of Mongar.”