Odisha Eyes Dividends From Centre’s UDAN

A proposal made in the Union Budget 2020-21 by the NDA government, to develop 100 airports under the Centre’s UDAN scheme, has reignited hopes for cities like Rourkela, Utkela, and Jeypore to feature on the domestic air connectivity map. The three smaller airstrips in Sundargarh, Kalahandi, and Koraput districts have all been included under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.

In a recent meeting, civil aviation secretary PS Kharola and state government officials said that the Rourkela airport would require an additional 41 acres for the development of Virtual Flight Rules (VFR) and 143 acres for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) to enable landing of ATR-72 flights under UDAN. The Rourkela, Utkela and Jeypore airstrips will be made operational under the UDAN-IV scheme, for which the Centre will start bidding this year.

The Birasal airstrip in Dhenkanal, presently being used by the Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI) to provide flight training for aspiring pilots may be included under UDAN as the state government has decided to make the airstrip operational soon. The Birasal airstrip had got permission last year from the DGCA in November and started flying trainee aircraft in December on a temporary basis.