Campaign for early Establishment of a Domestic Airport in Berhampur, Odisha
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Odisha Government fails to expand the runway of Berhampur airport at Rangeilunda even after 17 years of rule. The Greenfield Domestic Airport project proposed near Berhampur city also makes no headway.
Given this delay, Berhampur fails to make it to the list of airports under UDAN scheme of the Central Government for air connectivity to Tier-II cities.
Union Civil Aviation Minister makes repeated appeals to Odisha to submit a proposal for the establishment of a domestic airport in Berhampur, (https://www.telegraphindia.com/116…/…/odisha/story_91195.jsp (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/52755910.cms and only for the negligence of the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government, it fails to do that.
State government says it will extend Rangailunda Airstrip, which is already rejected by the AAI for technical reasons. However, Berhampur wants a green field Domestic Airport, not the extension of Rangailunda Airstrip as proposed by the state government; which is inside the Berhampur University campus. An expansion of airstrip will destroy the educational environment & will be the biggest obstacle for future expansion of the University.
Noteworthy, Berhampur city with its urban agglomeration is the second biggest city of Odisha and is a commercial nerve centre. It also serves as the gateway to the entire South Odisha.
This city has the Army Air Defence College, TATA Industrial Park, IRE, SARAFF & Birla like big industries, the Gopalpur Sea Port, major tourist destinations like the Second Most popular Sea Beach of India- Gopalpur, Chilika Lake, Tara Tarini Shakti Peetha etc., IISER, Two Universities, Several Professional Colleges, Engineering Colleges, Medical Colleges and is also the gateway to the tribal hinterland of South Odisha. Therefore, maximum tourists coming to this place and people coming for business and going out of this area for business depend on Air travel for quick communication.
Secondly, this area is always affected by tropical storms and historically this area is prone to cyclones. 1999 Super Cyclone, Philine- 2013, Hudhud- 2014 are examples of it. During Cyclone time this area is cutoff for several days from the rest of the country and people are facing enormous problems for communication. Therefore, Air connectivity to this area is highly essential.
Even as per media sources, more than 35% travelers from Bhubaneswar & 25% travelers from Visakhapatnam airport are from this place. Therefore, this project will be a viable project.
Owing to that the Central Govt has given proposals several times to Odisha Govt to identify a big patch of land near Berhampur city to establish a Green Field Domestic Airport.
This is unfortunate that Berhampur airport is getting delayed for negligence and a clear lack of interest on the part of the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government. I request the Odisha CM to write a letter to the Union Minister of Civil Aviation to expedite the process of establishing a Green Field Domestic Airport in Berhampur near Sitalapalli, for which land was already earmarked in Berhampur CDP, and recently passed by State Govt.
Ram Prasad Tripathy
President, Odisha Development Forum
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