Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh announced Thursday the official commencement of Imphal-Mandalay Flight service from November 23 at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport.
The announcement was made during the launch of an online ticketing portal for the flight service at the chief minister’s secretariat in the presence transport department officials.
The flight service will be operated by Air KBZ of Myanmar twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday of every week.
Air KBZ Myanmar had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Imphal-based KB Enterprises on July 3. The flight is scheduled to commence on the eve of the seven day-long Manipur Sangai Festival, the biggest tourism festival of the state.
“The commencement of Imphal-Mandalay Flight service will take us closer to our goal of making Manipur the major hub for travel to South-East Asian Countries. Manipur is central to the future of India’s Act East Policy and the proposed flight service could become one of the major drivers for mainstreaming the Northeastern India in the Act East Policy of the country with Manipur as the Gateway to South East Asian region,” said Mercina R. Panmei, director of transport said in a statement.
Panmei pointed out that Mandalay International Airport connects 11 domestic and 19 international destinations and this could serve as a major transit hub for onward travel to other Southeast Asian countries. Since 2010, domestic passenger traffic through Mandalay has been increasing by 20 percent every year, while growth in International flights has been up to 60 per cent annually, she noted.
The transport director asserted that the number of travellers between Manipur and Myanmar has increased manifold either for medical treatments, business or religious purposes, tourist transit route or due to cultural ties in the recent past. Imphal-Mandalay Direct air route help in further strengthening and deepening these ties, she added.
Manipur outfit to protest
While the Government has started making preparation for a grand celebration, the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has announced a series of protest to be taken up including to boycott Manipur Sangai Festival, 2019.
Sunil Karam, coordinator COCOMI said that the decision was taken against state Government’s indifferent attitude towards their demand.
COCOMI has been demanding the state to pressure the central government to disclose the terms and determination of the recently concluded Indo-Naga peace talks on October 31.