In the next tier will be airports at Angul, Therubali, Utkela (Kalahandi) and others. (See the list of airstrips in Odisha here.) I think because of the industries Angul and Therubali will be the leading contenders.
Various KBK statistics are known to everyone here as well as to the planning commission. We will not rehash them here. We will just like to point out that various programs in KBK (such as RLTAP) will not work to their potential unless qualified people are willing to be there to implement those programs and unless there are enough local people who are qualified. For example, one can open schools and hospitals and initiate irrigation projects. But if teachers, doctors and engineers do not go there in sufficient numbers to staff the schools, hospitals and irrigation projects they will not achieve their impact. So while we make programs for schools, hospitals and irrigation projects we need to pay attention to the infrastructure aspects that will (a) create enough local teachers, doctors and engineers and (b) will not deter teachers, doctors and engineers to come to this place.
With that in mind we propose that the following be pushed with the central government for implementation in the next 7 years — the remaining part of the 11th plan and the 12th plan starting in 2012. I think the list below is doable. (Much more needs to be aimed for and done through the state government, industries and people in this region; but here we only focus on what one can realistically push with the central government and achieve.)
1. Railway Infrastructure: The Railway infrastructure of the KBK districts need to be drastically improved. In particular there are several approved lines that need to be speeded up. In addition there are some hanging lines that need to be extended and completed. The following shows the current Railway lines in Odisha.
The following picture shows the lines that bring better rail connectivity to the KBK districts. The ones in brown have been approved and we request that they be completed within the next 2-3 years and. We request that the ones in blue are approved and completed within 5 years.
2. Airport at Jeypore: Currently Odisha has one airport with commercial flights. That is in Bhubaneswar. AAI is in the process of making another airport at Jharsuguda. We propose that another airport be built near Jeypore-Koraput with commercial flights in mind (small planes to start with) to serve the KBK area. An airstrip is already there. The following map shows the location and its distance from the other airports in India.
4. HRD/Education: The 11th plan has good proposals regarding schools, ITIs and model colleges. But as we said in the beginning of this document, KBK needs to produce its own teachers, doctors and engineers.
As a first step the Odisha government decided to locate the Central University of Odisha in Koraput. However, considering the vast area of KBK, we request the following.
4.1 The 11th plan has provision for having medical colleges and engineering colleges in 5 of the 16 new central universities. (See the page from Volume 3 of 11th plan below.) We request that the one of those medical college and engineering college be established as part of the Central University of Orissa, Koraput.
4.2 A centrally funded engineering college of the kind in Longowal Punjab (SLIET), Kokrajhar Assam and the one being made in Malda (GKCIET): These three centrally funded engineering colleges have rural focus and we request that one such rural focused 3-tier (catering to workers, technicians and engineers) is needed for KBK. We request that it be made in Balangir. In the next page we have cut-outs related to the above mentioned three colleges which show their mission perfectly matches what is needed in the KBK districts.
4.4 Some kind of a centrally funded institute in Kalahandi: One has to be realistic in pursuing something that is achievable; something central government has established in smaller towns in other states; something with similar philosophy as SLIET/GKCIET/CIT-Kokrajhar but in a different field.
4.5 Special funding for proposed state Universities in KBK: The Odisha government higher education task force has recommended new state universities to be made in Jeypore (Koraput), Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi) and Balangir. We request that the central government give a one time 50 crore grant to each of these proposed universities so that they can be started at the earliest.
5. Job Centers:
Wagon factory in Kalahandi.
Tourist infrastructure around Gandhamardan hills and Harishankar.
Tourist infrastructure around Kolab dam and tribal hamlets of Koraput.
The Odishans world-wide now recognize the need of International Flights to Bhubaneswar and Domestic Flights to Jharsuguda in order to effectively connect to the hi-tech businesses and tourism around the world.
Without the requisite air connectivity, Odisha cannot expect a jumpstart in development given all the potential that the state has in Tourism, Education and IT, feels Purna Mohanty, leading Non Resident Odia(NRO).
It all started during Pre Invest Bhubaneswar meeting at Hotel Swosti in May 2010, said he.
And then further concretized with hard-copy signature campaign during Invest Bhubaneswar and OSA Convention during 1-4 July, followed by Ratha Yatra Festival in Silicon Valley, CA, USA.
The signature campaign was completed and submitted to Prime Minister, Civil Aviation Minister, Chief Minister and Member of Parliaments.
NROs are thus presenting an overall proposal of Air connectivity in Odisha, with a request to consider & expedite the implementation of the following at the minimum:
Upgrade the 6 decade old regional Airport at Bhubaneswar to an International Airport at the earliest possible.
Expedite and complete the construction of ongoing western regional Jharsugda Airport in Jharsugda district, in western Odisha, within next two years.
“With in coming 6 months the 32 seated Aero-service to commence from Jeypore”, declared by MP Shri. Jayaram Pangi along with some Administration Officials at Jeypore Airport. …
During past 1962 the said Airport was established by Ex-Chief Minister Biju Pattanik. During 1980 the service commenced on those days from Jeypore to Vishakapatnam and Bhubaneswar. But now days the said Airport get activated during the VIP visits only. After establishing HAL at Sunabeda the said Airport was established, but the importance found raised after the establishment of NALCO at Damanjodi.
From the above, and its actions in the past, it seems that Orissa government’s future plan in terms of airports are:
Make an international airport in Bhubaneswar. (Shifting to the new location will take another 10 years.)
Make an airport in Jharsuguda to cater for Bargarh-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela belt: Will take 2-3 yrs to be operational.
Plan for an airport in Jeypore: Will take 8-10 years to be operational
Plan for an airport in Rasgovindpur (near Jaleswar, close to Balasore and Baripada): Will take 8-10 years to be operational
Couple of implications of the above are: Berhampur and Rourkela may not get functional airports in the near future (say next 10 years) as they are close to airports at Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda respectively. The overall airport situation in Orissa in 10 years will be as follows:
Now lets analyze how feasible the airports at Jeypore and Rasgovindpur will be.
Rasgovindpur: It will be 30-40 kms from Balasore and Baripada; 70-80 kms from Digha; 80-90 kms from Kharagpur mostly on the expressway; 90-100 kms from Bhadrak mostly on the expressway, close to two expressways; 200kms from Kolkata airport; 210-220 kms from Tatanagar and 260-270 kms from Bhubaneswar. (Tatanagar being only 170 kms from Ranchi may not have a viable commercial airport for some time. Kharagpur being 120 kms from Kolkata will not have a viable commercial airport for a long time.) Thus it is far enough to the nearest airports in Bhubaneswar and DumDum (Kolkata), but at the same time there are enough population centers (Balasore, Baripada, Bhadrak, Digha, Kharagpur, Medinipur, Jhargram, Ghatsila) that will be close to this airport than the existing airports. So this aiport could serve a significant population in Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.