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Fresh hope for flying institute

Jharkhand may once again dream to soar high.

A team from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is expected to inspect the state hanger at Birsa Munda airport on January 28 for starting a flying institute, a project pending since 2003.

“They are supposed to come for inspection on January 28. We are prepared from our end. Everything depends on them to provide the go-ahead. If all goes well, Jharkhand will get its own flying institute soon,” aviation secretary Sajal Chakraborty said.

Sources said the DGCA nod was needed to start commercial pilot training after which licences are given. “The team will inspect aircraft and existing facilities like staff, trainers, disaster handling apparatus among other things after which an approval will be given to start the training. Successful candidates, after completing the course, will get licences,” a source said.

In 2003, the Babulal Marandi government floated the scheme to impart commercial pilot training to ST/SC and OBC candidates. Three years later, the civil aviation department reportedly procured two Zlin four-seater aircraft and a glider for setting up a flying club and then converting it into a flying institute. But the institute remains on paper due to a number of glitches ranging from no clearance from the DGCA, failed attempts in selecting private partners, bureaucratic hurdles and so on.

All this while, the state had been sending tribal youths to flying institutes in Bilaspur and Hyderabad, but received a setback when it found out that they did not have approval from the DGCA.