Summit push with cargo hub

Dumka air link likely this year

By Animesh Bisoee in Ranchi
  • Published 11.02.17
Chief minister Raghubar Das and Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha inaugurate the cargo complex at Birsa Munda Airport on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Ranchi, Feb. 10: Chief minister Raghubar Das inaugurated a state-of-the-art domestic cargo complex at Birsa Munda Airport today and Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, who was here for the opening, promised to link all five commissionerates in Jharkhand by air by this year itself.

Ahead of the Global Investors' Summit, the new domestic cargo complex in the capital airport, which can at present take and bring freight from Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore, is not just an image push but a much-needed convenience for individuals and businesses that may fetch Rs 1 crore in revenue a month for the state.

Sounding upbeat about the cargo complex, for which the state had granted Rs 2 crore to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in a pact inked in 2015, the chief minister said: "The cargo complex, apart from providing more convenience to passengers and commercial operators, will also help the state in its stride as an economic power in the eastern region of the country."

The complex, which is spread over 1,182.59sqm, will be serving 14 flights that operate in and out of Ranchi now. From today, these flights will be able to carry cargo, the volume of which is expected to touch 25-30 tonne a day.

The complex is equipped with an X-ray machine, an explosives detector, a doorframe metal detector, four CCTV cameras, a handheld metal detector, three weight measurement devices, two hydraulic hand pellet trucks as of now. It will add facilities such as a walk-in cold storage, inbound and outbound cargo strongroom, cargo ramp and truck duct.

On his part, Union minister Jayant said air traffic at the Ranchi airport would go up.

"At the moment we have 14 flights from Ranchi and from April four more flights of Air Asia will be added to the fleet. There'll be more flights to Delhi. We plan to start flights to Hyderabad and Chennai too. Annual passenger traffic in Ranchi has grown between 25-30 per cent annually," he said.

Both Jayant and Das said it looked likely that all five commissionerates - Dumka (Santhal Pargana), Hazaribagh (North Chotanagpur), Jamshedpur (Kolhan) and Daltonganj (Palamau) and Ranchi (South Chotanagpur) - would be linked by air by this year.

"We got a proposal from the minister (Jayant) for starting air links for all commissionerates with Ranchi, and in the future with other major cities if feasible," said Das.

"I would like to assure (him) that our government will extend all facilities, including land transfer and approach roads, to the civil aviation ministry so that they can start work on developing air facilities in these cities at the earliest," Das added.

Jayant said small aircraft would operate between Ranchi and other cities in Jharkhand. "We will start with small seater (nine and 19 seater) flights between commissionerates and the capital. We will start construction of airstrips within few months after getting land and other infrastructure from the Jharkhand government," the Union minister said.

Chief minister Das added that his government was committed to eradicate poverty in Jharkhand, and the forthcoming Global Investors' Summit was a step in this direction.

"I appeal to Opposition parties not to protest against the summit as it would harm the state's image before the global community," he said, reiterating they were not hankering for MoUs to be in the headlines but wanted to ink deals of doable projects that could translate into reality.

The function was also attended by AAI regional executive director eastern region Sanjay Jain. Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Choudhary and Jharkhand Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar, who had come for the inauguration, left the venue at 3.15pm after waiting for over an hour for the chief minister who came around 4pm. Das got delayed by a party meeting at state BJP headquarters in Harmu.