Construction for the ambitious greenfield domestic Dhalbhumgarh airport project will begin by October 30. At present, trees are being felled and the administration will procure enviromental clearance for a portion of the area under the jurisdiction of the forest department in the next three weeks to start construction work.
The forest clearance process has reached the second-stage level and we will obtain an approval in the next three to four weeks. It is aimed to launch flight operations from the proposed Dhalbhumgarh airport by 2022.
Situated at Dhalbhumgarh in Ghatshila subdivision, about 60km from the Steel City, the airport is being built on an abandoned World War II airfield. It is spread across 240 acre and the project will be implemented at a cost of Rs 100 crore in the first phase. In the second phase, the airport will be expanded to another 545 acres.
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has signed an MoU with the state civil aviation department for the implementation of the project in coordination with the district administration. The terminus will come up on a 15,000 square feet area while the airport will have the facility to park two ATR 72 aircraft.
The proposed runway will be 2,179-meter long and 30-meter wide in the first phase and will be expanded to 4,400-meter in the second phase. Dhalbhum divisional forest officer Abhishek Kumar said the 240-acre land on which the first phase of work will begin is owned by the forest department.
Consultations with AAI is going on to get through with the approval process at the earliest. Some more documents have to arrive from AAI. Work on the airport was supposed to begin in early 2018 but it was delayed after the defence ministry, which had laid claim on the 290-acre land, did not provide an NOC on time.