Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 13:
The Odisha government has urged the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to include Jeypore airstrip in Koraput district, located in an industrial area, among the 50 airstrips to be developed by Centre for commercial operations.
“Jeypore is at the far end of the state and is a commercial centre surrounded by industries and hydro-power projects. Government of India has recently taken a policy decision to develop 50 Airports in the country for commercial operations in which Jeypore can be included. State government will provide ail infrastructural support required for this purpose,” said Niten Chandra, special secretary to General Administration department in a letter to the AAI chairman Alok Sinha, .
The government has requested AAI to provide necessary technical and financial support for the development and operation of Jeypore Airstrip in a similar manner as in the case of Jharsuguda Airport.
The Odisha government’s airstrip in Jeypore is close to HAL, Sunabeda and NALCO-Damanjodi.
Incidentally, a team from AAI had visited this airstrip in January last year and submitted a pre-feasibility report to state government to develop the airstrip into a commercial airport.
Jeypore airstrip was built way back in the year 1962 along with the establishment of a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) factory. During the 1980s, Vayudoot started a daily Bhubaneswar-bound flight from this airport through Vishakapatnam.
While the airstrip is currently spread over 60 acres, the government has already identified 310 acres of land for the expansion and development of the airstrip .
It is to be noted here that the state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the AAI for the development of the state’s second airport at Jharsuguda.
The proposed project at Jharsuguda, worth Rs 210 crore, would be implemented within two years of acquiring the required land and availing environmental clearance. Besides providing land, the state government has agreed to give Rs 75 crore for the project. The existing airstrip at Jharsuguda already has more than 9,000 acres and the state government would provide the remaining 296.50 acres for the proposed airport.