To give a boost to air connectivity to more places in the country from the Jharsuguda airport, two more flights would be introduced from Jharsuguda to Bangalore and Kolkata soon in addition to five flights operating from the airport now.
A decision to this effect was at taken at the State-level Monitoring Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy at Lok Seva Bhawan here on Wednesday. Home Secretary Sanjeeb Chopra outlined the issues for discussion. Civil Aviation Director Himansu Bhusan Panda was present.
Tripathy directed to widen the airstrip at Rourkela for operation of bigger flights which would benefit the people. Presently, Rourkela airport with 5,900 ft runway has been made ready for operation of the 19 sitter flights. Routes like Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Raipur have been decided for the airport. The Airport Authority of India has also floated the bidding inviting offer from airlines operators.
Tripathy further directed to complete the construction of terminal building, runway and other associated infrastructure at Jeyopore airport in Koraput district for which Rs 55 crore has been sanctioned.
The progress regarding development of Utkela airstrip in Kalahandi district showed that the social impact study has already been completed and submitted to the Government. No major issues of displacement and rehabilitation are involved in it. The process for land acquisition has been started. Tripathy directed to complete the process within scheduled time.
It was revealed that four airstrips at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela and Jeypore were selected for the UDAN scheme. The Biju Patnaik International Air Port, Bhubaneswar would serve as mentor airport.
Notably, the State Government is providing both the manpower and financial support to make the regional connectivity scheme viable during initial periods. It has decided to reduce VAT from 5 per cent to 1 per cent and provide 20 per cent of the Viable Gap Funding. The State will also provide land, security and fire services. Around 43 security personnel and nine fire service personnel will be deployed in each airport.
Apart from that electricity and water would also be provided by the State Government at concessional rates. The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela have been suggested for regional connectivity. The Government has decided to support the regional air connectivity scheme as a part of its ‘Make in Odisha initiative’.