4 sites to be developed as airports in Odisha- The New Indian Express

By express news service

BHUBANESWAR: Four locations in Odisha are among the 54 potential sites to be developed as airports under the UDAN 5.0 scheme to connect wildlife sanctuaries, tourist destinations and religious sites.

The sites – Baripada, Konark, Hirakud and Malkangiri – were finalized after analyzing non-operational airstrips for their proximity to tourists, wildlife and spiritual destinations.

Although no Odisha site was featured in the list of 10 proposed sites selected for their proximity to wildlife sanctuaries, Malkangiri and Hirakud have been nominated among 29 sites for their proximity to tourist destinations.

Similarly, Konark and Baripada are among the 15 locations identified for airport development due to their proximity to religious sites. The fifth phase of the UDAN scheme aims to add or reactivate airstrips closer to sanctuaries and tourist attraction destinations. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar are the biggest beneficiaries of the fifth phase. While 11 runways from Madhya Pradesh have been included in the scheme, 10 are from Rajasthan and seven from Bihar.

With the next edition of the UDAN scheme, the Center has planned to switch from regional to remote connectivity. Airlines will be able to propose and select routes for the tender, as it will be based primarily on demand.

“A list of sites was sent to the Ministry, which has chosen four sites for the fifth phase. Once developed, these places can become profitable for airlines and travelers can also benefit as the cost of airfare would be affordable under the scheme,” said a Department of Transport official.

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Of the five runways included in the UDAN scheme in 2016, Jharsuguda Airport has been operational since 2018 and the runways at Rourkela, Jeypore, Utkela and Rangeilunda are in different stages of development.

Other than this, Amarda Road, Angul, Barbil, Birasal, Gudari, Lanjigarh, Nuapada, Padampur, Rairangpur, Raisuan, Sukinda, Theruboli and Tushra are available unserviced airstrips in the provisional RCS – UDAN list.

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