BHUBANESWAR : The proposed international airport at Puri could be ready for operations by 2022-23, Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said here on Sunday. The State government has located 1,500 acre of land in the western outskirts of Puri town at Birala mouza for the airport. Behera said a team from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) recently visited the land identified for the airport. It is expected that the Civil Aviation Ministry will give its approval to the location, he added.
“If everything goes well, the airstrip and the construction of other infrastructure will be completed in a year and flight service under UDAN scheme will begin from Puri during 2022-23,” he said. The Minister also said the government has taken up with the Ministry about the infrastructure development of existing airstrips in other districts.
“Apart from this, the government is cooperating with the Ministry for the commencement of flights from Rourkela (Sundargarh), Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput),” he added. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 1 proposing an international airport at Puri. He had proposed the name as Sri Jagannath International Airport.
Stating that land has been identified at Puri for the project, he has assured that the State government will proactively support all activities required for establishing the airport in record time. In his letter, the Chief Minister had said Puri is connected to two Ramsar sites, Chilika lake and Bhitarkanika National Park, which have huge potential for eco-tourism.
“Besides, the Sun Temple of Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 35 km away from Puri and along with the adjacent Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beaches provide a unique experience to national and international tourists,” he added. Stating that holy Rath Yatra is celebrated across 192 countries, the Chief Minister had said the proposed airport will help bring Jagannath devotees from across the world to Puri and promote Jagannath culture across the world.