The state government has sought technical and financial help from Airport Authority of India (AAI) to develop Jeypore airstrip into a commercial airport, citing its proximity to top industrial sites in the state.
"Jeypore is at far end of the state and is a commercial centre surrounded by industries and hydropower projects. It is, therefore, requested that AAI may please provide technical and financial support for development and operation of Jeypore airstrip in a similar manner as Jharsuguda airport," said Niten Chandra, special secretary in the general administration department of the government in a letter to AAI.
The government of India has taken a policy decision to develop 50 airports in the country for commercial operation. The Odisha government requested AAI to include Jeypore airstrip in the upgradation plan as industrial facilities such as an alumina refinery of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) and aircraft designing wing of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is situated in the surrounding region of Jeypore.
"State government will provide all infrastructural support required for this purpose," Chandra added in the letter.
Last year, a team comprising AAI officials had visited Jeypore airstrip and had submitted a pre-feasibility report to the state government for establishing a commercial airport in the southern part of the state. The state government has announced its ambition to upgrade both Jharuguda and Jeypore airstrips to full-fledged airports. Besides, it has plans to develop mini-airports are Paradip, Dhamra and at Kalinganagar.
In July 31 this year, the Odisha government signed an agreement with AAI for developing a no-frills airport at Jharsuguda at a cost of Rs 210 crore. Of the overall estimated project cost, the state government will provide Rs 75 crore.
According to AAI officials, aircrafts like Airbus A-321 and Boeing 767, used by domestic carriers, can land in the airport after upgradation.
The development plan of Jharsuguda airport includes construction of 5,500 sq metre of new terminal building and new air traffic control (ATC) tower. Parking space for nearly 200 cars, conveyer belts and boundary wall will also be taken up, the sources added.