BHAWANIPATNA: The inclusion of Utkella airstrip, located 24 km from Bhawanipatna, under Uddan, one of the pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to link hinterland by air service, hangs in balance.
According to sources, around 32 acres of land was earmarked for the airstrip in 1962. But no progress was made on the project since then.
However, the runway, boundary wall, terminal building, lounge and control room were renovated and made ready for service with an investment of Rs 3 crore in 2016-17. The black topped runway is 918 meters in length and 32 meters in width. Besides, an 80-meter road connecting the NH- 26 with the airstrip was renovated with an investment of `1.18 crore. Executive Engineer, PWD, Bhawanipatna Division, Ajit Babu said the airstrip is ready for Uddan operation and 68-seater planes can safely land on the airstrip.
But Utkella airstrip is yet to get the green signal from the Central Government. If it becomes operational, air passengers of Kalahandi, Raigada, Nowrangpur, Nuapada and Balangir districts can avail the service.