The airport will serve a dual purpose. Apart from normal commercial operations, it will double up for disaster management operations. Odisha's coastline has been vulnerable to tropical cyclonic storms. The state's southern coast was battered by two back to back very severe cyclonic storms- Phailin and Hud Hud in 2013 and 2014 respectively, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Back in October 1999, the region around Paradeep was witness to one of the most destructive tropical cyclones, causing widespread damage.
“Both PPT and IOCL will own stakes in the project. It will be a small airport with a runaway of 1.8 km. Besides catering to the operations of smaller aircrafts, the airport will be used for disaster management operations. Land requirement for the airport project is being assessed”, PPT chairman Rinkesh Roy said.
Cost estimate for the airport project is yet to be done. A team drawn from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has done a recce of the site selected for the airport.
“PPT had made a request for development of an airport. The pre-feasibility study is going on at Paradeep for development of a commercial airport. Everything will depend on the amount of land available”, an AAI official said.
The airport project is likely to be included under PPT's Smart Port Industrial City. The port city will house a string of projects across sectors. PPT has initiated work on projects valued at Rs 35.44 billion on the self-contained city spread over 700 acres of land. Projects on the anvil include a multi-modal logistics park (MMLP) committed by Container Corporation of India (Concor), a four million tonne per annum pelletisation unit by Thriveni Earthmovers Ltd, a wood park and a dedicated food park for edible oils. On external infrastructure like roads and water, PPT plans to spend Rs 2.94 billion. The road network which envisages a second exit from Paradip via a flyover will be executed through National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The proposed airport will have a strong catchment with an array of industries in the vicinity of the major sea port. IOCL has sunk in Rs 350 billion on a 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) grassroots crude oil refinery at Paradeep. The oil marketing company has pledged to invest Rs 520 billion more on a petrochemical complex, using feedstock from the refinery. Besides the refinery, Essar Steel runs a six mtpa pellet complex at Paradip with an option to ramp up capacity to 12 mtpa. Fertilizer makers- Paradeep Phosphates Ltd (PPL) and Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd (Iffco) run their units. A riverine port project is also envisaged near the major port on the mouth of the Mahanadi river. Technical bids for this port projects have been already invited.
Among the upcoming greenfield investments, JSW Steel has announced a 12 mtpa steel mill. The mega steel project along with attendant infrastructure planned to be installed at a cost of Rs 550 billion, is expected to come up near Paradeep port on the land abandoned by Posco India. The state government has approved 2700 acres land for the JSW Steel project.
Separately, PPT has firmed up major expansion plans. PPT aims to topple Deendayal Port Trust (erstwhile Kandla Port Trust) as the largest major port in cargo volumes by 2019-20. PPT is currently the second biggest port in cargo handling. In last fiscal, PPT joined the exclusive club of ports in India- Deendayal Port and Mundra port by handling in excess of 100 million tonnes (mt) of cargo. The major port had achieved an all-time high traffic throughput of 102.01 million tonne (mt) during 2017-18 as against previous year's traffic of 88.95 mt, exhibiting a growth of 15 per cent. The port has set a target to handle 112 mt by March 2019.