A domestic airport will be built in Sikkim by next December, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma said here on Thursday."The airport will be opened in December 2016 and is going to boost the connectivity of the state in a big way," he told the media after inaugurating the Fourth International Tourism Mart here.Hosted by the Sikkim government, 27 countries are participating in the mart - a platform to showcase the northeast region's tourism potential.He said the airport would be set up in Pakyong, 35 km away from Gangtok.Sharma also said that in January next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would declare Sikkim a fully organic state, which means only organic substances are used for cultivation.The minister said the central government has released Rs.90 crore for the development of tourism in the state.
"Sikkim is a model tourist state in many ways. It has succeeded in achieving the targets of cleanliness, peace and hospitality. I appreciate its effort in turning the state into a no-smoking, organic, plastic free state," he said.Rumptek monastery will be added in the circuit to boost the Buddhist circuit tourism, he added.The minister said in order to improve air connectivity to the northeastern states, Guwahati airport has been upgraded, while better facilities will be provided at Bagdogra airport as well.The issue of "road and rail connectivity will be conveyed to the respective ministries and will be addressed soon", he said.Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said that they have adopted a holistic approach to the development of the state for the last 20 years."We are committed to achieving development goals without compromising natural resources. Our focus is clean air and we have succeeded in making the state completely organic. We have plans to introduce yoga in schools by 2016," he said.