New airport on Dhanbad radar

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By PRADUMAN CHOUBEY
  • Published 24.09.14
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Dhanbad, which has been doing without a commercial airport for years, is taxiing for an ambitious take-off.

Acting on the instruction of state civil aviation department, the local administration is preparing a proposal to develop a commercial airport at Baliapur block, 25km from the district headquarters.

The new facility, which will be in addition to the existing Barwaddah airstrip that’s currently used for landing and take-off of only copters, will come up on 130 acres of land belonging to Fertiliser Corporation of India (FCI). The proposal is likely to be submitted to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and FCI through the state civil aviation department within a week.

The process for thrashing out the details has been speeded up after visits by civil aviation secretary Sajal Chakraborty on September 20 and 23. Chakraborty inspected both the Baliapur land and Barwaddah airstrip besides scrutinising various documents.

Circle officer of Jharia Sagri Baral, who is also in-charge of Baliapur block, said: “The 130 acres of FCI lie in three mouzas — Harihari, Bardaha and Samlapur. In total, there are 145 plots, where a runway of around 7,546 feet (more than double the length of the existing 3,700 feet runway at Barwaddah ) will be built, which is enough for landing of 70-seat commercial flights. There are more 80 acres, which can be used for expansion of the airport at any point of time.”

As both the AAI and FCI are government of India undertakings, transfer of land won’t be an issue.

Sources said the proposed airport would be a low-cost one. “FCI had already acquired the earmarked plot way back in 1955-56 for developing an airport. But the project could not take off then. Hence, there is no need to make fresh acquisition and the cost will be less,” said an official.

The administration is also planning to send a separate proposal to the state civil aviation department for renovation of the Barwaddah airstrip, which was used for air services between Dhanbad and Patna till 1987.