Jamshedpur, April 19: A team of Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the proposed starting of air services from the abandoned World War II runaway in Chakulia and Dhalbhumgarh in Ghatshila sub-division, about 70-kms from Jamshedpur.
State civil aviation director (operation), Col S P Sinha, speaking at Sonari Airport this evening, said, “The AAI team is on a visit to different airstrips in the state as part of a MoU between state government and AAI for developing sites to be connected under Regional Connectivity Scheme of the Union government.
Today’s visit was fruitful as there are chances to develop the area. The visit was made in view of the recent talks held by Chief Minister Raghubar Das with the Union government for exploring feasibility of connecting more cities under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). The team has visited Bokaro yesterday and gave positive signals after visiting the airstrips at Chakulia and Dhalbhumgarh and termed them fit for being developed as a bigger airport,” said Col Sinha.
The five-member AAI team comprising Ganapati Das (DGM operations), Sudesh Sharma (DGM AAI), Santanu Pannikar, Neeraj Gupta and Ganesh Sharma (all senior managers) will submit feasibility report based on survey of the airstrips to the state government with suggestions about shortcoming which the state civil aviation department will try to rectify and then submit a proposal to the Central government.
World War II era abandoned airfield in Chakulia, barely 70 km from Jamshedpur, built by the British in the 1940s at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore, and later used extensively during the 1962 war with China and the 1971 war with Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh is spread across an area of 515.44 acres.
Jamshedpur MP Bidyut Baran Mahto, who was also invited during the visit of the AAI team later speaking to media at the Circuit House, said the team were members were satisfied with the runaway and the area which was fit for even international flights.
“The team was happy during the visit. The airstrip was praised by the AAI team and they suggested some modification and acquisition of lands the airstrip can be developed to accommodate international flights.
I had met the Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and union civil aviation minister of state, Jayant Sinha in March this year and urged them about the importance of international air connectivity in Kolhan and mentioned about the abandoned airstrip in Chakulia and am confident that soon the mineral rich Kolhan will be soon in international air map,” said the Jamshedpur MP.