Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday said that regional flight connectivity will start from Jharsuguda airport by the first week of February next year.
This was discussed at the State Level Coordination and Monitoring Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here.
It was known from the review meeting that the infrastructure of the airstrip at Rourkela is now ready.
The Obstacle and Limitation Surface (OLS) Survey of all the four airports has been completed.
The chief secretary directed to expedite the process for finalization of operational details for Rourkela airstrip.
Padhi also directed to make Utkela and Jeypore airstrip ready by March 2018.
Director General of Police Rajendra Prasad Sharma apprised that around 135 police and 27 fire personnel from Odisha government have already been trained for providing security and fire services in the regional airports.
Available data shows that 5 airstrips of Odisha including Biju Pattanaik International Airport have been selected for Phase-I of Regional Connectivity Scheme ( RCS)-UDAN. Other 4 airstrips are Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput).
Biju Pattanaik International Airport will serve as mentor airport for RCS. Jharsuguda airport has been developed under the joint aegis of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Govt of Odisha.
Rourkela airstrip will be operated by AAI with security and fire personnel support from Government of Odisha. The other airstrips at Jeypore and Utkela are being developed with funding from both the state government and AAI.
The flight operator company appraised that regional connectivity from Kolkata to Rourkela has been scheduled to be started from 23rd January 2018. The flight from Jharsuguda is scheduled take-up from Jharsuguda during the 1st week of February 2018. This flight will connect Jhrsuguda, Raipur and Jagdalpur.
It may be pertinent here to mention that Govt of Odisha is providing both the manpower and financial support to make the regional connectivity scheme viable during initial periods.
The state government has decided to reduce VAT from 5% to 1% and provide 20% of the Viable Gap Funding. It is also providing land, security and fire services. The electricity and water would also be provided at a minimum rate.
It is expected that such subsidies and financial assistance will keep the ticket cost at an affordable level. Sources said the average price of a ticket to be paid by the passengers for these flights would be around two thousand and five hundred.
The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela have been suggested for regional connectivity.