Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju today said steps would be taken to develop Rangeilunda airstrip in Odisha’s Ganjam district into a full-fledged airport if the state government sends a proposal for this.
“We have not received any proposal from the state government in this regard. Not even a letter from your MP for development of Rangeilunda airport,” Raju told journalists.
The airport could be developed when the Centre and state government work together, said the Minister, who was here to attend ‘Vikas Utsav’ celebrations to mark completion of two years of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
“The state will provide land for the airport, while the Centre will fund for development of infrastructure,” he said.
The Minister said work for Jharsuguda airport was going on in full-swing and it would be completed very soon. In Jharsuguda, the work of the airport was started only after the state government provided the land.
Earlier, several organisations submitted memoranda to the Civil Aviation Minister seeking upgradation of Rangeilunda airstrip to a full-fledged airport.
Rangeilunda, one of the oldest airstrips in the country, has been functioning since 1936 and is now under the state government.
Upgradation of this airstrip was a long-standing demand of the people of the region. “We appealed to the Civil Aviation Minister to take steps for developing it as a full fledged airport,” BJP’s state secretary Bibhuti Jena said.
Public Works Department (PWD) of state government has prepared a detail project report (DPR) for development of the airstrip into a commercial airport at Rangeilunda at a cost of around Rs 200 crore, officials said.
A full-fledged airport at Rangeilunda is important for air connectivity to Gopalpur as several industries and port projects, including Ferro-chrome plant, Industrial Park, multi-purpose SEZ of Tata, titanium dioxide plant of Saraf group and hydro-power projects are in pipeline in the area.
Besides, there are Berhampur University, Army Air Defence College, Gopalpur port, sea town of Gopalpur and Chilka Lake. Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Berhampur will start functioning this year.