Ministry of Defence has granted sanction to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to operate air services from the runway of the Uttarlai Air Force Station, Defence Estate Officer Abhinav Singh said.
After Jodhpur Air Force Station, this will be the second airbase in Western Sector to allow the operation of civil domestic flights from its runway.
The airbase played an important role in the Indo-Pakistan war. The squadron of upgraded MiG-21 Bison is deployed here.
Defence Estate Officer Singh said that land measuring 4,568 sqm would be given to the AAI on the annual lease of Rs 10,670 in the air force station as per the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the IAF and AAI.
"Besides this land, a parcel of 7.1 bighas between the adjacent railway line and air force station has already been allotted to the AAI for construction of a terminal for the airport," said Singh.
The permission is in pursuance of the regional connectivity scheme 'UDAN' introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2017 with the objective of expanding air services in the country and making them economic.
The AAI had expressed its intention to operate civil flights from Uttarlai Air Force Station in 2018 keeping in view the growing importance of Barmer as a centre for crude production and its refining and generation of non-conventional energy.
While construction of the refinery and crude exploration by the oil exploration giant Cairn Energy is already in full swing in Barmer, many other companies are engaged in minerals, oil and gas exploration and solar and wind energy generation.
The Estate officer said that the sanction has been granted to the AAI for construction of temporary/minimum infrastructure on and near the defence land at/inside perimeter wall and between the railway line and air force station boundary wall without alienation/transfer of ownership of land.
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