Environmental clearance for upgradation of Rourkela airport in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) today granted environmental clearance (EC) for upgradation of Rourkela airport in Odisha’s Sundargarh district.

The Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of SAIL is the owner of the airport while the upgradation work is being carried out by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for civil operations.

In February last year, it had been decided to go for upgradation of Rourkela airport from Code-2B to Code-3C for operation of ATR- 72/Q-400 type aircraft under RCS-UDAN scheme ahead of the Men’s Hockey World Cup, scheduled to be held in the Steel City and Bhubaneswar next year.

The proposal involves extension and strengthening of the runway, construction of ATC tower, provision of taxiway and construction of prefabricated terminal building. Besides, there is a plan for additional utility building for housekeeping and support staff, construction of a new toilet block and utility vehicle shed, sources said.

The Term of Reference (ToR) for the project was issued by SEIAA on August 22 this year for a detailed environment impact assessment (EIA) studies. The EIA study has been carried out by collecting baseline data from December, 2019 to March, 2020.

The ToR for the project has been granted with exemption from public hearing by SEIAA since the Rourkela airstrip is located inside the notified industrial township of SAIL-Rourkela Steel Plant and there is no land acquisition, rehabilitation or resettlement issues involved in the project.

The estimated cost for the project is Rs 50 crore. The project proponent has earmarked a budgetary allocation of Rs 8.5 crore and recurring cost of Rs 17.5 lakh per annuam for implementing the environment management plan (EMP). With the upgradation, the area of Rourkela airport is set to increase from existing 102 acres to 250 acres, sources said.

While granting the environmental clearance, the SEIAA has stipulated a number of conditions and safeguards for waste water treatment, rainwater harvesting, solid waste disposal, creation of green zone, zero liquid discharge, traffic and transportation, pollution mitigation, energy conservation, on-site and off-site emergency, disaster management, fire safety and Corporate Environment Responsibility.

The SEIAA, in its 93rd meeting held under the chairmanship of Sisir Kumar Ratho, also approved grant of environmental clearance for mining of iron ore over 92.875 hactares with production capacity of 2.95 MTPA (RoM) from Kalamang West (Northern Part) iron ore mines at Kalamang and Ghodabudani villages in Sundergarh District and Gandalpada village in Keonjhar district by Tata Steels Limited.

It also granted clearance for a residential apartment by M/s Aryan Infrastructure Private Limited at at Telengapenth under Cuttack Municipal Corporation with general and specific environmental conditions.

Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently urged the Centre for operationalisation of Rourkela airport for Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023.

In a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Patnaik asked the Centre to expedite work for the upgradation of the airport.

Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra had also written to the Centre to operationalise Rourkela airport ahead of the hockey world cup.

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