Jharsuguda: The Non Resident Odias (NROs) expressed their disappointment over non-functioning of newly inaugurated Jharsuguda Airport after a leading international media blinked eyes at India’s system.
In an article titled “Even the sweepers can afford to fly’: India opens 34 airports in 18 months as aviation market booms” and posted on November 5, The Washington Post satirised over non-operation of flights at the Jharsuguda Airport, Odisha’s second major airport under UDAN scheme.
The article talks about the growth story of India’s aviation sector. Till October 2018, airlines operating in India saw 48 consecutive months of double-digit growth in passenger traffic. By 2024, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that India will rank behind only China and the United States in terms of air traffic to, from and within the country.
It says that India has opened 34 airports in the last 18 months and that demand from India’s hinterland for new airports has been phenomenal, considering the economic growth the country has been experiencing.
However, the Jharsuguda airport which was inaugurated with a lot of fanfare by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, had flights operating for only about two weeks before abruptly halting operations.
“Embarrassingly, one of the airports Modi personally inaugurated in September, in the industrial town of Jharsuguda, had flights for only two weeks before abruptly halting operations,” the article stated.
Recently, the NROs in the UAE had celebrated the opening of the airport, which was recently renamed as the Veer Surendra Sai Airport, in front of Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the World).
Expressing their pleasure over the inauguration of the much-awaited airport that would connect the Western Odisha people to various regions of the country, the NROs cut a huge cake. Even, the NROs also presented a memorandum to Consul General of India in Dubai seeking for direct air connectivity from major cities to Jharsuguda Airport.
However, they were disappointed after the flight operations were halted at the new airport.
According to the NROs, Jharsuguda airport’s lack of operations after a long-awaited inauguration is a major embarrassment to the State and is a call for immediate action.
“By featuring in an article in a leading International Newspaper/Website, Jharsuguda airport has been clearly singled out as a case where urgent action needs to be taken to revive operations and ensure regular connectivity by reputed airlines”, said the NROs in a release
The statement signed by Senior Odia Professionals living in the UAE urged the Centre and State Government to take urgent steps to introduce regular flights from major airports to this fledgeling airport.