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AAI mulls Jeypore airport in Koraput

Bhubaneswar, May 29: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is considering a proposal of the Odisha government for an airport at Jeypore in Koraput district.

Recently the proposal was discussed among the AAI chairman, the chief secretary of Odisha and senior AAI officials in Delhi. The AAI officials have also taken up a pre-feasibility study for the proposed airport in the southern tribal belt Odisha. Moreover, the place cherishes a rich cultural history linked to the Kalinga Empire and is globally known as one of the few original places where rice varieties were first found in their primitive wild genetic variants.

Director of Biju Patnaik Airport V.N. Chandran said: “Already several rounds of discussion were over between the AAI and the Odisha government. However, we have sought some clarifications. Once those are met we will go ahead.”

Chandran said: “The Centre is also going to have a new civil aviation policy, which aims to develop small airports across the country to have a better air connectivity. Already the civil aviation ministry has written letters to all state governments in this regard to take necessary actions to shortlist and upgrade the airstrips available.”

The executive engineer of the Odisha public works department (Jeypore division) has floated a Rs 35-lakh tender for facelift of the runway of the five-decade-old Jeypore airstrip. The Odisha government has made a provision of Rs 6-crore masterplan for the airstrip’s renovation.

The airstrip is spread over 60 acres. Moreover, there is a provision to acquire another 12 acres to have a longer runway. While the AAI owns the strip, the local PWD division looks after the maintenance.

Jeypore is not only a major commercial town of south Odisha, but also the capital of the erstwhile Atavikas, a feudatory of the Kalinga Empire (ancient Odisha) during third century BC.

Anthropologists say Koraput district is home to 62 tribal communities belonging to Proto-Australoid ethnic stock who speak their own languages. Each tribe possesses its distinct identity in terms of social organisation, culture and economy. They have also conserved a rich and varied heritage of colourful dances and music.