Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ziro Landing Ground

1957: Kimin-Ziro road opened.
1952: Divisional Headquarter of Subansiri shifted from Kimin to Ziro.
1951: First aeroplane landed at Ziro landing ground.

This chronology of events looks upside down. It is one of the many intriguing facts about Ziro. Before the Kimin-Ziro road was opened in 1957, one had to trek through pestilential jungles for as long as a week from Kimin. Ziro was, in those days, an administrative outpost.

View of Landing Ground in 2011:

Construction of the landing ground was a major event in the otherwise sleepy valley at 5000 ft above sea level. RG Menzes, then Political Officer, who also opened the Ziro township on March 24, 1952 supervised the works. It is noteworthy that only local people - both Apatanis and Nyishis - were engaged in the construction project.

Landing Ground under construction in 1951:

The first aeroplane to land was an Otter in 1951 and next year in 1952, a Dakota landed after lengthening the landing ground. Since then, supply of essential items to the whole Subansiri division has been much easier. Till this day, this is the base for air-dropping of such items to strategic places like Damin, Sarli, Chambang, Limeking and Taksing.

In the seventies, the first commercial operation - that of Vayudoot - was started with much fanfare. The services never took off as expected as the flights became too unreliable due to unpredictable weather.
A serious attempt was made in the late nineties to extend the length of the present ground so as to make it viable for landing of commercial airplanes. As vast areas of priceless wet-rice cultivation areas were at stake, the project got a major setback. The government still has said to have an ongoing project to ungrade it into an airport. Even at the present status, the landing ground remains the most prominent landmark of Ziro.


  1. You clearly depicted your post in pictures. I just love how you relate it.

  2. wow......fabulous,