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Plans for bigger Bokaro airstrip

A team from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which conducted an aerial recce of the Bokaro aerodrome on Friday, has submitted a report to the civil aviation authorities at the Centre and state, seeking expansion of the airstrip to facilitate landing of bigger aircraft.

The report, which is now with the Union civil aviation ministry and the state civil aviation department, also recommends several other measures to develop the aerodrome.

At present, the 5,300sqft-long and 100sqft-wide airstrip is suitable for middle-sized 72-seater planes. Steel Authority of India planes fly to and from here besides the 12-seater private ones used by politicians during elections.

According to sources, the report says that the length of the airstrip must be increased by another 700 feet to make it at least 6,000 feet keeping in mind the fact that several new industries, including steel and cement plants, were coming up in the district.

The team also made note of the congested western side of the aerodrome, which has a number of shops selling mutton, chicken and pork near the boundary wall, thus attracting scavenger birds. The encroachment problem also finds a mention in the report.

State civil aviation secretary Sajal Chakravarty said: “Discussions will be held among Bokaro steel plant, which owns the airstrip, central and state officials to discuss the points raised by the NHAI team.”