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Suryakant Jena

The Odisha government has plans afoot to develop a new airport at Malkangiri by January 2024. Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra reviewed the progress of the proposed project, which has been put on the fast track, during a high-level digital meeting at the Lok Seva Bhawan on Tuesday. 

Mohapatra directed the Works department to operationalise the airport for State planes by January, 2024. As per plans, the airport will be developed as a 2B category airport and will be extended further as per growth of demand for bigger flights.

Informing about the advancement of the airport work, Principal Secretary Commerce and Transport,  Bishnupada Sethi said that the land acquisition process for the project is complete while the raising of concrete posts with barbed wire fencing along with the gate has been over.

The project, already given administrative approval with an estimate of around Rs 29 crore, would come up on around 74 acres of government land, private land of around 126 acres and forest land of around 33 acres.

So far, Stage-I forest clearance for the project has been obtained while the Stage- II forest clearances is in the process. Similarly, Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) survey has also been carried out by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), informed the Principal Secretary.

As many as 54 families who need to be relocated for the project have been included under rural housing schemes, and the construction of their houses has been completed. 

During the review meeting, the Chief Secretary directed Rural Development department to hand over the existing two roads under the project to the Works department for strengthening as per the required specifications. 

He also directed Tata power southern Odisha Distribution Ltd (TPSODL) to shift the existing electric line for the proposed airport within June 2022. 

According to the proposed DPR, an 800 to 1000 metre long airstrip will be developed at the airport for operation of state flights. 

The Chief Secretary further asked the officials to clear the obstacles that are necessary for the laying of the airstrip and DPR quickly before floating of tender.

Once completed, the airport at Malkangiri, being in the farthest district from State headquarters, will add to boosting the quality health and education services in the region. It would also enhance economic and commercial activities in the district, says the government.

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