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Amitava Banerjee, Hindustan Times
Darjeeling, September 03, 2013
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has promised help to set up a Composite Aviation Base (CAB) under the Army Aviation Corps to be built in the Jalapiguri district. The proposed CAB is supposed to be the largest in the country and would emerge as an important addition to the new Strike Corps being raised to counter the Chinese might in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh frontiers.

A took place on Monday at Kalimpong between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Lt. Gen KJ Singh, GOC of the 33 Corps Sukna on Tuesday. Earlier Singh held meetings with North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb on the issue of land required for the CAB.

Banerjee gave her consent to the formation of the CAB. Sources told HT she also asked the North Bengal development minister and the district administration to facilitate land acquisition required for the creation of the CAB which is slated to provide employment opportunities for around 10,000 people.

Significantly, the Trinamool Congress chief is opposed to acquistion be it for industry or infrastructure purposes, a policy for whihc she has earned flak from the country's investors.

The CAB requires 759.73 acres in the Sarugaon and Damdim areas of the Jalpaiguri district. The land on which the CAB is to come up is mainly wasteland and unused plantation land of closed tea gardens.

The cost of the project is pegged at Rs. 572 crores and Rs. 750 crores for Saugaon and Damdim respectively.

The CAB will house fixed winged aircraft, helicopters and even drones. “Today’s meeting was very fruitful” stated Deb.