Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 25:
The Odisha Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to upgrade the Jharsuguda air strip into a full-fledged airport, which will benefit the people of western Odisha as well as the industries coming up in the mineral rich belt.
While the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already given its nod for regularizing flight operation from the Jharsuguda airport, the state government would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Central government authority for up-gradation of the airport. The draft MoU has already been approved by the Cabinet.
The cabinet headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided to hand over around 296.50 acre of land in two phases for upgradation of the airport that will be the second commercial airport of the state.
It is estimated that around Rs 210 crore will be spent for up-gradation of the air port. The Odisha government has already agreed to AAI’s request to provide Rs 75 crore initially.
“While around 118.75 acres, including 51.81 acres of government land, would be handed over in first phase with zero premium, around 177.75 acres of land would be handed over in the second phase,” Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra said briefing media persons after the cabinet meeting here this evening.
Mohapatra informed that AAI had proposed to sign the MoU in February, but since the poll code came into force on March 5, the state government decided to do it after the polls.
The Cabinet also decided to bring physiotherapy and occupational therapy courses under the Health Department. Earlier, these educational courses were with the Women and Child Development department.