Jharsuguda airstrip to be ready by September

Bhubaneswar: The first phase work of Jharsuguda airstrip would be completed by September this year, said an official on Wednesday.

Holding a review meeting on UDAN scheme for regional air connectivity in the state, Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi directed completion of the first phase works on Jharsuguda airstrip and to make it ready for flight operations by September 1.

Padhi told the meeting to expedite the preparatory works on other airstrips for making them flight-fit.

Sources said five airstrips in Odisha have been selected for inclusion in UDAN scheme. Of these, Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar, will function as mentor airport.

The other four airstrips are located at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput).

A state-level Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary involving Home, Police, AAI, and representatives from regional connectivity airlines and oil companies for ensuring effective implementation of the scheme.

For facilitating regional connectivity during the initial period, the state government has decided to reduce VAT from five per cent to one per cent and provide 20 per cent of the Viable Gap Fund.

The government would also provide land, security and fire services free of cost. The electricity and water would also be provided at minimum rate.

Routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.

The state government has decided to provide these subsidies and financial assistance to kick off flight operations and to keep the passenger fares at affordable level.

As per initial calculations, the average price of a subsidised ticket to be paid by the passengers for these flights would be around Rs 2,500. (IANS)

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