Odisha govt seeks NOC from DRDO to operationalise Amarda Road airstrip

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has urged the Defence Ministry to instruct the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to operationalise the Amarda Road airstrip near Rasagobindapur in Mayurbhanj district under the RCS-UDAN.

Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra has written a letter to Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar in this regard.

In his letter, Mahapatra said the Ministry of Civil Aviation has included the Bhubaneswar-Amarda Road as a special RCS route under UDAN 4.1 on request of the state government and Gsec Monarch has been selected as the airline operator for the route with seven flights/week using a nine-seater aircraft.

The Odisha government had requested DRDO several times in this respect for providing NOC to use the airstrip for commercial flight operations under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN.

However, there has been no response till date for which flight operations are in a stalemate situation, he pointed out.

Informing about the importance of the airstrip, Mahapatra said the northern part of Odisha is deprived of any kind of air-connectivity and the existence of the Amarda Road airstrip has a huge significance for the nearby places.

He further said it will facilitate tourism connectivity to important places like Simlipal National Park, Kuldiha Sanctuary and Chandipur and Talsari sea beach, facilitate economic growth through trade, provide jobs, increase revenues from taxes and foster the community relationship with the neighbouring states and communities.

The Chief Secretary requested the Defence Secretary to look into the matter and issue necessary instructions to DRDO for the use of the Amarda Road airstrip by the state government for flight operations under RCS-UDAN in the larger public interest. He hoped that DRDO would issue the NOC in this regard at the earliest.

The airstrip, which is located 225 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, was built during World War-II.

According to sources, about 1,000-acre piece of land in Rasagobindapur block falls under the purview of the Defence Ministry, so the NOC is needed.

The Amarda Road airstrip, once it turns into an airport, will cater to the people, mostly in north Odisha, south Bengal and east Jharkhand, the sources said.

(IANS)

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