The airport at Jharsuguda is ready to start operation by November first week under Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) programme.
Informing it after a high-level review meeting here on Tuesday, chief secretary A P Padhi said flight services from the industrial town would be started as soon as the state government would get confirmation from the private operator (Air Odisha).
“We cannot force the operator to start operation as they would do it according to their business plan. The operator has signed MoU with the civil aviation ministry. They are yet to get aircraft. The operators have informed that they will first start the operation in Gujarat next month and then in Odisha,” A K Meena, special secretary of general administration department, told reporters after the meeting.
As far as infrastructure is concerned, everything is in place and the state government has completed training of 44 police personnel and nine fire service personnel are to be deployed at the airport, official sources said.
In July 2014, the state government and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had signed an MoU for development of the Jharsuguda airport at a cost of Rs 210 crore.
Discussion regarding development of airstrips at Rourkela, Jeypore and Utkela in Kalahandi district was also held in the meeting. It would take another two to three months to prepare the airstrip at Rourkela, managed by the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP).
“We are sorting out issues with RSP. Initially, we were hoping that they will manage the airport. As of now they are reluctant. If they would say no for this, the state government will manage the security and fire services. The AAI is working to get the airport ready. I expect it will take another 2-3 months,” Padhi said.
Beginning of the air services from Jeypore and Utkela airstrip will be delayed as civil constructions at both the airports are yet to be completed. Infrastructure at both the airstrips is likely to be ready by March, next year, official sources said.
The tender process has already been completed for construction of boundary walls and extension of the runways for both the airstrips. While central PSU Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited would set up fueling station at Jeypore, the AAI would rope in another central PSU to set up the facility at Utkela, official sources said.
Total five airstrips from Odisha including the Biju Patnaik International Airport (which would serve as mentor airport) are shortlisted under UDAN scheme in the first phase.
Courtesy: Times of India