Jharsuguda airstrip will be ready by September 1 this year for commencement of flight operation under the regional air connectivity scheme also known as Udan.
While directing to complete the first phase work in the Jharsuguda airstrip and make it ready for flight operation by September 1, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi asked officials to expedite the preparatory work in other air strips to make them flight-fit.
The routes such as Bhubaneswar-Utkela (20km from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district), Utklela-Raipur, Bhubaneswar-Jeypore, Bhubaneswar-Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda-Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar-Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.
An official source said five airstrips in Odisha have been selected for inclusion in the Udan scheme. The Biju Patnaik International Airport will work as the mentor airport. The other four airstrips are located at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela (Kalahandi) and Jeypore (Koraput).
A state-level monitoring-cum-coordination committee has been constituted, headed by the chief secretary. The representatives of the state home department, Airport Authority of India, various airlines and oil companies have been nominated in the committee.
An MoU on the Udan scheme was signed between the Union ministry of civil aviation, Odisha government and the Airport Authority of India inMarch this year.
For facilitating the regional connectivity, the state government had decided yesterday to reduce value-added tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel from 5 per cent to 1 per cent.
Besides, the state government will provide 20 per cent of the viable gap funding. It has also offered to provide land, security and fire services free of cost. The electricity and water will also be provided at the minimum rate.
The state government has decided to provide these subsidies and financial assistance to start the flight operations and keep the passenger fares at affordable-level.
According to initial calculations, the average price of a subsidised ticket to be paid by the passengers for these flights will be around Rs 2,500.