Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday shot a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu requesting him to set up an Airport in the major seaport town Paradip.

While the Paradip Port Trust has already requested the Airport Authority of India to set up an airport in Paradip, Pradhan sought the personal attention of the Aviation Minister to examine the techno-economic feasibility for setting an Airport there as soon as possible.

Pradhan mentioned that Paradip is one of the major ports in Eastern India and last year became one of the three ports in India to have handled a total cargo of hundred-plus million tons. He further stated that the port is being further expanded and modernized and it is expected that by 2020 it would be able to handle 332 million tons of cargo per annum thereby making it the largest port in India.

He stated the Centre has declared Paradip Port as a Smart Port Industrial City, which is fast emerging as a major industrial hub in Odisha and Eastern India.

However, he said, the grand vision of development of Paradip would remain incomplete without an airport providing air connectivity, as the nearest Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar is 135 kms away and takes more than three hours by road.

Besides having the port, Paradip already has an oil refinery of 15 MMTPA capacity, a 12 MMTPA pellet plant, two fertilizer plants together of 4 MMTPA capacity and an edible oil refinery, Pradhan said.

Pradhan added that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is implementing several big ticket industrial projects, including expansion of refinery to 21 MMTPA from 15 MMTPA, a 700 TMT Poly Propylene (PP) Plant by 2018 and a 355 TMT Mono Ethyl Glycol unit by 2023-24 which will feed various downstream industries including plastics, paints, rubber and synthetic yarn industries, and said all these initiatives require seamless connectivity.