Odisha Seeks Centre’s Help To Make Rourkela Airport Operational Before Hockey World Cup

Bhubaneswar: In view of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 scheduled in January next year, the Odisha government has urged the Centre to expedite the execution of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) for the operation of the Rourkela Airport.

The quadrennial world championship will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar and Bisra Munda Stadium in Rourkela from January 13 to 29, 2023.

Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Saturday sought personnel of Union Steel Secretary Sanjay Singh and requested him to direct SAIL to execute the MoU with AAI to make the Rourkela Airport ready for the forthcoming event. “The Rourkela Airport of SAIL is being developed by Airports Authority India (AAI) for civil operations under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). It was already licensed for 2B category Airport but due to operational issue, it was decided to upgrade into 2C category for which various works are being taken up by AAI and is scheduled to be completed by end of October,” he wrote.

The chief secretary said that the MoU signed between SAIL and AAI for operation and management of flight connectivity under the UDAN scheme on April 23, 2018, is currently not in force. For a fresh MoU, the AAI has already submitted a draft MoU to SAIL in June 2022. “The Rourkela Airport is the key infrastructure which will play a major role in transportation during the upcoming Hockey World Cup and the support from SAIL is highly anticipated to make it operational,” he said.

He also informed that the state government is leaving no stone unturned to make the World Cup a grand success.

On September 27, the chief secretary urged Union Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal to enhance flight connectivity to Veer Surendra Sai (VSS) Airport in Jharsuguda and operationalisation of Rourkela Airport. “As an alternative to Rourkela Airport, the VSS Airport at Jharsuguda is the nearest domestic Airport having connectivity with cities like Kolkata, Raipur Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar. Further, Jharsuguda city is well connected with Rourkela via road as well as railway. Thus, the access to Rourkela city will be made easier if the air connectivity to Jharsuguda is enhanced,” he said.

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