Odisha government seeks permission from DRDO to Operationalise the Amarda Road Airstrip

Odisha Government had requested Union Government to allow Amarda Road Airstrip for flight operation under RCS-UDAN Program. Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra has written to Union Secretary Ministry of Defence, Ajay Kumar in this regard, official sources said.

Looking at the huge tourism potential, Odisha Government requested the Ministry of Civil Aviation to include Amarda Road under RCS-UDAN Scheme. On receiving Odisha’s request, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has included Bhubaneswar-Amarda Road as a Special RCS Route under UDAN 4.1.

Gsec Monarch has been selected as the Airline Operator for the said route with 7 Flights/Week using 9 Seater Aircraft.

Odisha government seek permission from DRDO to Operationalise the Amarda Road Airstrip

Mahapatra, who has been instrumental in scaling up Eco-Tourism Sector in a big way in the State, has pointed out that Northern Part of Odisha, which is deprived of any kind of Air-Connectivity and the existence of Amarda Road Airstrip near Rasagobindapur in Mayurbhanj District has a huge significance for the nearby places.

This air connectivity will facilitate tourism connectivity to important places like Similipal National Park, Kuldiha Sanctuary, Chandipur and Talasari Sea Beaches. Such air connectivity will facilitate economic growth through trade, create job opportunities, increase revenue from taxes and foster the community relationship with neighbouring States and Communities, pointed out the Chief Secretary.

Earlier the State Government has requested DRDO for providing a NO Objection Certificate (NOC) to use the Airstrip for Commercial Flight Operation under RCS-UDAN. However, the State Government has not received the same, resulting in the proposed flight operation being left in limbo.

Mahapatra has requested Kumar to look into the matter and issue necessary instruction to DRDO for use of Amarda Road Airstrip in the Mayurbhanj District by the Odisha Government for flight operation under RCS-UDAN in the larger public interest.

Officials hope that DRDO would issue NOC in this regard at the earliest as it will open up tourism, spur economic activities and generate revenue for the State.

Principal Secretary Commerce & Transport Bishnupada Sethi, who has been pursuing this air-connectivity issue with the Ministry of Civil Aviation is in touch with senior officials of the Government of India in this regard, said sources.

Joint Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation, Usha Padhee, is continuously making efforts to add more and more airstrips under RCS-UDAN, for which Odisha has been benefitted in a big way.

Earlier, Mayurbhanj MP and Union Minister Bishewar Tudu had Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to convert the airstrip into a modern airport keeping in view its past glory.

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He had said that once an airport comes up at the Amarda Road airstrip it will cater to an estimated 82 lakh people mostly in north Odisha, south Bengal and east Jharkhand.

Historian Anil Dhir said the Amarda Road airstrip was a forward airfield against the Japanese during the conquest of Burma. It served as a landing ground for planes and also as a training space for special bombing missions. Built in the 1940s for INR 3 crore, the airstrip was abandoned after Independence. 

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