Jamshedpur: The historic airstrip situated at Chakulia in Baharagora Assembly constituency, situated some 40 kilometres away from Jamshedpur, is lying in shambles in want of government care.
Once used in the Second World War, this airstrip resembles a barren land abandoned by the authorities concerned since last many years.
The airstrip was used as a military airbase from 1942 till 1945 during WWII. Its main runway is 7284 metre long and 100 metre wide. Compared to it, the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi is merely 2713 long and 45 metre wide. The Chakulia airstrip is thus three times larger than the Birsa Munda Airport. Spread over an area of 400 acres, it has the capacity of accommodating 10 aeroplanes and 25 helicopters.
But despite its huge capacity, the state government has long been neglecting this heritage site. Now most part of the land around the airstrip is used as a grazing place for cattle and a garbage disposal site by factories and local residents, sources said.
Local residents rued the fact that only announcements for the revamp of the airstrip have been made by various politicians of the state so far. But little has been done to bring back the glorious days of the airstrip which is a heritage for the state and the country.
Former Chief Minister Arjun Munda had announced to develop Chakulia airstrip into a cargo airport in the year 2005. But after the collapse of the government, the plan failed to take off.
Sources said the state government is planning to develop Chakulia airstrip into an international airport in the coming days. The proposed airport in Gamharia is far from becoming a reality. The Chakulia airstrip fulfills the criteria for being developed into a modern airport.