Kesinga: Even though preparations are in place for flight operations from Utkela airstrip under this block in Kalahandi district it has not yet become operational for unknown reasons, a report said Saturday.
The airstrip, established in 1962, in Utkela panchayat is lying idle without any flight. The airstrip has facilities for operation of 12-seater to 50-seater aircraft.
A sum of Rs 3 crore was sanctioned in 2016-17 for development of the airstrip for regular flights to Bhubaneswar and to cities like Raipur, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The sanctioned funds were spent on development and expansion of the airstrip, construction of runway, drains, compound walls, roads on both sides, signal rooms, control room, rest house and a guest house. Now all the works have been completed and the airstrip is all set to become operational.
Air Asia had announced that it would launch flights from Kalahandi to Bhubaneswar in September 2017. Air Asia also conducted a test flight from Bhubaneswar to the airstrip May 23, 2016 to assess viability of the airstrip for regular flights. However, it is yet to become a reality and become operational.
The delay in the launch of flights from the airstrip has dampened the hopes of residents in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts who are anxiously waiting to see it become operational.
When contacted, Baidyanath Dash, deputy engineer works department, said all works for renovation of the airstrip has been completed and flight services are being awaited. PNN