Even after cancellation of the proposed water aerodrome project at Chilika, a seaplane landed on the lake water on Saturday leaving everyone in the locality confused and stunned.
The villagers around the lake were panicked after hearing a loud noise coming out from the seaplane flying in the sky and then landing on the water of the lake at its Nanganashi sea mouth in afternoon. Arakhkuda and Sanapatna villagers and fishermen were frightened after the plane landed. Sources said that neither the local administration nor police had been informed about the seaplane landing and te purpose behind it.
Tourism Minister Ashok Panda told reporters on Sunday that he learnt about the seaplane landing only from the media reports. He would talk to the Forests and Environment Department about it. Seaplane landing in the Chilika must be stopped to protect the lake’s biodiversity, he added.
“The seaplane landed at 1.30 pm and it was creating loud noise,” said Rabi Narayan Behera and Pradip Behera, residents of Arakhkuda.
However, the plane took off after 10 to 15 minutes of staying on water in a floating position, they added.
All this happened even though the Central Government recently dropped the water aerodrome project at the Chilika after drawing flak from various quarters, including environmentalists.
The Chilika Development Authority (CDA) had informed the media, saying the Airports Authority of India (AAI) cancelled the project in the lake citing the reason that “if implemented, it will negatively impact the ecosystem and the surrounding human population”.
In June, the AAI had announced to set up aerodrome projects in Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. Chilika in Odisha was the preferred site. A team of experts from the Centre had visited the area and conducted a study after the Civil Aviation Ministry gave its nod to the Chilika proposal.