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Odisha’s Jharsuguda to be ready for UDAN flights from Feb

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The Odisha government has set a target to start regional flights, under the Centre’s UDAN scheme, from the Jharsuguda airport during the first week of February next year, officials said. This was discussed at the state-level coordination and monitoring committee meeting chaired by chief secretary A P Padhi. “The flight from Jharsuguda is scheduled take off from Jharsuguda during the first week of February, 2018,” a state government release said, adding, the flight will connect Jharsuguda with Raipur and Jagdalpur.

Four airstrips in Odisha and the Biju Patnaik International Airport have been selected in Phase I for implementing the UDAN scheme. The airstrips are Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Utkela in Kalahandi and Jeypore in Koraput districts. Jharsuguda has been upgraded to an airport from an airstrip.

Infrastructure of the airstrip at Rourkela is now ready for flights under the the UDAN scheme, the officials informed. Padhi asked officials to expedite the process for finalisation of operational details at Rourkela airport. He also directed to make Utkela and Jeypore strips ready by March, 2018 so that the UDAN scheme could be implemented.

The director general of police R P Sharma said around 135 police and 27 fire personnel have already been trained to provide security and fire services in the regional airports. The Biju Patnaik International Airport will serve as the mentor airport for the scheme.

“The flight operator company (Air Odisha) appraised that regional connectivity from Kolkata to Rourkela has been scheduled to be started from January 23, 2018,” the release said. The state government has decided to reduce VAT on aviation fuel from five per cent to one percent and provide 20 per cent of viability gap funding, said general administration special secretary A K Meena.

It will also provide subsidies and financial assistance for regional air connectivity, as a part of the ‘Make in Odisha’ initiative. Routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela have been suggested for regional connectivity.

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