The Odisha government on Friday decided to make four airstrips operational by September this year for regional air connectivity under the initiatives of Ude Desh Ka Amm Nagarik (UDAN). Four airstrips at Utkela, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, and Rourkela would be developed for regional air connectivity, it was decided at the state-level monitoring committee meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi here.
Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar has also been included in the list for regional connectivity. The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.
The UDAN scheme, which is being implemented in Odisha in joint collaboration between state and central governments, would prioritise the unserved and underserved areas in the state, said an official. The meeting further deliberated on viability gap funding and other subsidies to the airline operators to kick-off operations during initial period keeping the passenger fares at affordable level.
The average price of a subsidised ticketfor these flights would be around Rs 2,500, with the subsidy to be borne both by the central and state governments on 80:20 ratio basis. An MOU was signed among Ministry of Civil Aviation, Odisha government and Airport Authority of India on March 1 to jointly carry forward regional connectivity programme.