BHUBANESWAR: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has requested the personal intervention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in expediting strengthening of aviation infrastructure in the State.
In a letter, Scindia has drawn the attention of the Chief Minister on several issues which are impacting the implementation of various projects relating to the aviation sector in Odisha.
The Union Minister said that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has projected a requirement of 178 acres of land at Jharsuguda for Phase-II expansion of the airport. However, the land is yet to be handed over, he added.
He said that the AAI has embarked upon development and expansion of airports in the country at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore in the next four to five years in order to meet the growing passenger demand in the country.
The Union Minister said that Jeypore and Utkela airports need to be developed at the earliest by the State government for operations of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN flights. The State government had recently announced that flight operations from Jeypore and Rangeilunda airstrips will begin soon.
Flight services will be started by the State government's own initiative and not included in the UDAN scheme of the Centre, Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera had said, adding that flights will operate on routes like Jeypore-Vizag, Rangeilunda-Vizag in the first phase.
Scindia also drew the attention of the Chief Minister to the fact that `1.48 crore is outstanding on part of the State government as Viability Gap Fund (VGF) share for Regional Air Connectivity Fund Trust (RACFT).
He also requested the State government to give its consent to provide 100 per cent VGF support for international UDAN operations on Bhubaneswar-Dubai, Bhubaneswar-Abu Dhabi, Bhubaneswar-Bangkok, Bhubaneswar-Kuala Lumpur, Bhubaneswar-Colombo, Bhubaneswar-Singapore and Bhubaneswar-Kathmandu routes. On receipt of the consent of the State government for 100 pc VGF support, routes will be put for bidding by the airlines.