Reported by Malay Ray
Rourkela, Mar 1:
A team of officials from Airport Authority of India (AAI) is on a visit to Odisha’s Steel City to assess the feasibility for upgrading the airstrip here.
The five-member team today visited the civil aerodrome here and held discussions with senior officials of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) during their two-day tour.
The team led by N Makhija, Jt. General Manager reached Rourkela last evening and visited the airstrip, its 6000 feet runway, and surveyed the surrounding area.
Later in the day, they held discussions with a team of senior RSP officials led by PK Pradhan, GM, in-charge (P&A) and checked land documents pertaining to the airstrip.
“We have done our survey of Rourkela airstrip. We will submit our report and accordingly necessary action will be taken,” said Makhija.
After the team submits their survey report to AAI and upon its approval, an MoU will be signed between AAI and RSP following which the modification work of the airstrip will start and commercial flight service will begin.
The team reportedly recommended expansion of the runway area by another 2000 feet. After the recommended modification, the airstrip will be able to accommodate 70 seater commercial aircrafts.
It may be noted that, Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray and Union Tribal Affair Minister Jual Oram had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 13 and discussed about the development of Rourkela airstrip and had requested for commencement of commercial flight service from it.
Besides, BJP legislator also urged the Prime Minister to make Rourkela airstrip on the lines of Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar. Modi also had evinced interest towards this demand following which AAI had been directed to prepare a survey report for the development of the airstrip.
The citizens of Rourkela are quite upbeat following the visit of AAI team and welcome responses have been pouring in from several quarters; more so from the business community of the Steel City.
“It is a good move. If the air strip gets modernized and commercial flight service starts, it will make travel easier from here, “said UA Patel, a Rourkela-based industrialist.