Poonam Singh

Jeypore: As wait for regular commercial flight services from Jeypore Airport under the Centre's UDAN scheme continues to get delayed, voice of dissent in the local communities grows louder.

According to sources, even though the runway, air traffic, terminal building and other facilities of the airport have been completed, Jeypore airport is yet to receive a green signal from the authority to start flight services.

According to reports, the district administration has written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), while the Odisha government has also shot a letter to the AAI to begin operations from the airport.

The delay in opening of the airport meanwhile has brought resentment among the residents of Jeypore with many alleging the local administration, State government, the DGCA, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) of not expediting the process to address technicalities.

"Even though years are passing by, we are not able to get flight services under the UDAN scheme either due to the negligence of state government or the centre," said Nishan Pattnaik, a resident of Jeypore.

"Crores of rupees have been used in the construction of infrastructure of the airport but it is now lying without any supervision or maintenance. We as residents of Jeypore demand the government to start operating an 18-seater aircraft from the airport," he said.

Notably, the state government had issued licences to Air Odisha to operate flight services from different airstrips to Jeypore Airport, however, it was stopped after some time.

Reportedly, the airport's runway which is 15,000m needs extension to 23,000m while the width needs to be increased from 15m to 22 m. Similarly, of the 128 acre land estimated for the airport, only 54 acre private land has been acquired.

Madhusudhan Mishra, Koraput Collector assured that the administration is working to fulfil all the requirements to start the airport operation. He also informed that a team of the DGCA will also be coming soon for inspection.