Berhampur, Feb 2 (LocalWire):With the union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement to develop 100 more airports across the country under UDAN scheme in her budget speech on Saturday, the people of the Silk City are hoping for the conversion of the pre-independence airstrip at Rangeilunda into an airport .
The proposal is in line with the government’s commitment to promote domestic travel and include those areas which have not been connected via air so far.
Berhampur, an important city of the state and the biggest commercial hub of southern Odisha, is yet to be connected through air.
Chandra Sekhar Sahu, the Former Union Minister and MP, Berhampur, informed LocalWire that the previous year, he had proposed for the development of an airport near Berhampur to the Central government.
Rangeilunda airport is important for the air-connectivity to Gopalpur as several industries and port projects, including Ferro-chrome plant, Industrial Park, multi-purpose SEZ of Tata, Titanium dioxide plant of Saraf Agency have started functioning near the proposed airport.
The educational institutions and tourist spots like Berhampur University, Army Air Defence College, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Berhampur, Chilka Lake are also in close vicinity.
“The people of Berhampur go either to Visakhapatnam or Bhubaneswar to catch a flight.
The entire south Odisha will benefit from the airport at Berhampur.
We hope the Centre will include Rangeilunda in its proposed list of airports,” said V. Santosh Kumar of Ganjam Chamber of Commerce.
Sources said that the state government has proposed to develop the air-strip Rangeilunda to an airport.
High-level official teams had visited the area several times and sanctioned Rs 23-crore for direct land purchase for development of the proposed port two years ago.
The project, however, did not progress much.
Besides the development of Rangeilunda air-strip, the Berhampur MP also proposed for the development of a green-field airport near Berhampur, considering the air-passengers of southern Odisha districts.
Edited by Meenal Singh