The Jharkhand government on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for expansion of the Deoghar airstrip into a world class airport with all modern amenities.
The MoU was signed at the CM residence in Ranchi in presence of MoS civil aviation, Jayant Sinha and chief minister Raghubar Das.
The modernized and expanded airport, ministers claimed, would facilitate air travel for residents of tribal-dominated Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand, to all the major cities in the country and also abroad. The airport will also make it easier for devotees to visit Jyotirling Baba Baidyanath and the annual Sravani Mela in Deoghar, they said.
The most backward region of Jharkhand is also expected to witness industrial growth due to air travel and cargo facility at Deoghar airport.
“The airport should be ready by December 2019. After 70 years of independence, Jharkhand will get its second airport. It’s a historical step,” said Das.
The current 53.41 acre airport will be expanded to a 654.10 acre full-fledged facility for air travel.
The Jharkhand government and AAI will contribute Rs.50 crore each for the project, while the DRDO will contribute Rs.200 crore, the chief minister’s office said.
Excluding the existing 53.41 acre land, the remaining 600.69 acre land will be given to the AAI on lease of 30 years for Re. 1 per year. The Jharkhand government has already transferred 635.97 acre of the land to AAI.
The state acquired 437.70 acre land for the purpose and a sum of Rs.426.66 crore would be given as compensation to land owners.
The upgraded and expanded airport infrastructure would primarily include the main terminal, parking, cargo complex and airport personnel residential colony.
MoS civil aviation Jayant Sinha said that the airport will connect Santhal Pargana to the entire country, and this connectivity will speed up development of the region.
The main purpose of the expansion was non-military use of A-320 category aircraft, sources present at the MoU signing ceremony said.
For five years since the beginning of operations at the airport, Jharkhand government will provide free of cost electricity and water to the AAI. The land transferred to the AAI too would be tax-free for five years since the beginning of operations, a CMO communique said.
However, the expenditure of any further maintenance and expansion of the airport would be borne by the AAI.