Bhubaneswar Buzz

Jharsuguda gets ready to be in the airport map of India via UDAN scheme on September 1

A day after reducing rate of VAT on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to one per cent from 5 per cent, Odisha government today asked officials to make Jharsuguda airstrip ready for flight by September 1.

Chief Secretary A P Padhi gave this direction while reviewing progress of UDAN scheme for regional air connectivity in the state.

Padhi also directed the officials to expedite the preparatory works of other air strips for making them flight fit.

At least five airstrips in Odisha have been selected for inclusion in UDAN scheme. From among these, Biju Pattanaik International Air Port, Bhubaneswar, will work as mentor airport.

The other four airstrips are located at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput), general administration special secretary A K Meena said.

A state level monitoring-cum-coordination committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of chief secretary involving home, police, AAI, representatives from regional connectivity airlines, and oil companies for ensuring effective implementation of the UDAN scheme.

An MoU on UDAN was signed among ministry of civil aviation, government of Odisha and Airports Authority of India in March.

To facilitate regional connectivity during initial periods, the state government has decided to reduce VAT from 5 per cent to 1 per cent and provide 20 per cent of the Viable Gap Fund. It is an incentive scheme in which a certain percentage of total capital cost is paid by the government.

Besides, the state government would provide land, security and fire services free of cost. The electricity and water would also be provided at the minimum rate for the airstrips.

The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utkela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.

Meena said the state government decided to provide subsidies to keep passenger fares affordable.

As per initial calculations, the average price of a subsidized ticket to be paid by the passengers for these flights would be around Rs 2500, Meena said.