Bhubaneswar: In order to facilitate air connectivity to two more locations from Western Odisha, the government is introducing two new flight services from Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda soon.
This was decided at the State-Level Monitoring Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy here at Lokseva Bhawan Wednesday wherein General Administration Secretary Sanjeev Chopra outlined the issues for discussion. Collectors of the concerned districts appraised updates at ground level in the meeting through video conferencing.
“Currently, Jharsuguda Airport has five flight services. Two more flights will be introduced during the winter schedule, one to Bangalore and another to Kolkata,” Tripathy told reporters after the meeting.
Jharsuguda airport director Himansu Bhusan Panda said as of now, Jharsuguda has been connected with Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raipur.
Reviewing the progress at the meeting, Tripathy directed to widen the airstrip at Rourkela for operation of bigger flights which would benefit the people. Presently, Rourkela airport with 5900 feet runway has been made ready for operation of the 19 sitter flights. Airport Authority of India (AAI) has also floated the bidding inviting offer from airlines operators. Routes like Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Raipur have been decided for the airport.
He further directed to complete the construction of terminal building, run way and other associated infrastructure at Jeypore airport in Koraput district as per the master plan of Works departments with estimated cost of `55 crore.
The progress regarding development of Utkela airstrip in Kalahandi district showed that the social impact study has already been completed and submitted to government.
No major issues of displacement and rehabilitation are involved in it.
The process for land acquisition has been started, an official said.
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.
Discussions in the meeting showed that four airstrips of Odisha were selected for UDAN scheme. These were airstrips at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput). Biju Pattanaik International Air Port, Bhubaneswar would serve as mentor airport.
Under the scheme, the state government is providing both the manpower and financial support to make the regional connectivity scheme viable during initial periods. State has decided to reduce VAT from 5 per cent to 1 per cent and provide 20 per cent of the Viable Gap Funding (VGP). Apart from that state government would also provide the manpower for management of airport of Jeypore and Utkela. The state has decided to support the regional air connectivity scheme as a part of its ‘Make in Odisha initiative’.