JEYPORE: With the State government’s announcement on commencement of operations from Jeypore and Rangeilunda airstrips on Friday, a three-member technical team of Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) is camping here to oversee the airstrip expansion project as per instructions of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The airstrip apart, work on type two B category runways, 915 metre in length and 23 metre in width, has already been completed at a cost of Rs 14 crore by the PWD but is yet to be approved by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Sources said the PWD has also completed construction of control rooms and guest rooms at the airport.
The technical team, led by AGM SK Sahu, is checking required infrastructure at the facility like the traffic signal system and construction of buildings at the airstrip, said PWD executive engineer Bhaskar Chandra Samantaray.
At present work on construction of category 2 C runway is in progress at the airstrip.
While Rs 55 crore has been sanctioned for the expansion, the PWD will spend Rs 38 crore for construction of runway and other infrastructure at the upcoming facility.
Once completed, the type 2C runway will be 1,200 metre long and 30 metre wide.
However, the expansion has not been able to make much headway owing to the Dhanpur distributary of Upper Kolab irrigation project in the area.
The authorities can carry out further work on the runway only after flow of water in the project canal is stopped.
“We expect the expansion work to be completed by June next year,” said a senior engineer working on the project.
Flight services from these airstrips will be started by the State government’s own initiative and not included in the UDAN scheme of Centre, Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera had said.
The decision was approved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Minister had said that flights will operate on routes like Jeypore-Vizag, Rangeilunda-Vizag in the first phase.