Bhawanipatna: The operation of flight services from the Utkela airstrip in Kalahandi district under the UDAN scheme remains a non-starter, thanks to the apathy of the state government and the Centre, a report said.
The airstrip was established in 1961 but became defunct later. In an attempt to make the airstrip operational, the Centre sanctioned Rs 3 crore in 2016-17 for its renovation. The airstrip authorities, with the help of Kalahandi works department, used the funds for construction of the runway, compound walls, drains, roads, signal room, control room, a rest house and a guest house on the 28-acre land.
Arrangements were made for operation of regular flights to Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata from the airstrip. Hopes soared high after Air-Asia announced direct flight from Utkela to Bhubaneswar.
However, the airstrip is in need of an additional Rs 16 crore and 10 acres of land for construction of a terminal building, taxi stand, fuel station and other facilities.
Meanwhile, the district administration, after conducting a survey for acquisition of an additional 10 acres of land, has submitted a report to the state government. Further steps will be taken after the state government grants permission for land acquisition, sources from the works department said.