KARWAR: Will Uttara Kannada district have a civilian airport now that the Navy proposes to establish a naval air station as part of the Sea Bird Naval project here? This question is being widely debated now. It may be noted that the then Congress government in the state led by S M Krishna made a proposal to the Navy to allow civilian aircraft at the proposed naval air station.
R V Deshpande, who was the industries minister then, held talks with naval authorities in this connection. However, the naval authorities made it clear that the runway in the proposed air station was designed for naval aircraft only. To allow civilian aircraft, the runway should be extended by an additional 2,000 metres, they said.
This needed an additional land of around 75 hectares.
The naval authorities were said to have agreed to provide the facility for landing civilian aircraft at the naval air station, provided the state government acquires the additional land and releases it to the Navy.
However, with the change of guard in the state, the issue was forgotten.
Moreover, the Central government had not yet given its nod for second phase development of the Sea Bird project till recently.
Now that the Centre has announced the establishment of naval air station in the district as part of the Sea Bird project’s second stage, the hope of providing landing facility to the civilian aircraft at the station has been revived.