Now, demand for airport in Raichur gains momentum

Now, demand for airport in Raichur gains momentum

Representative image

Now, Raichur is the only old district to be left out of the aviation map in the Kalyana Karnataka (KK) region.

The district has an old airstrip which saved the life of the country’s first prime minister, the late Jawaharlal Nehru, whose aircraft made an emergency landing after the pilot noticed a fire in the engine in the early 1960s.

But the proposal to develop this airstrip into an airport has been put on the back-burner due to the apathy of the powers that be.

High-tension power lines connected to the Yermarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS) located near the airstrip has come as a major hurdle for developing the airport.    

Pressure for the construction of the airport in Raichur has mounted after the Kalaburagi and Bidar airports were inaugurated recently. A technical team of the Karnataka State Industry and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) recently visited the location where about 422 acres of land is available for constructing the airport near YTPS and conducted a survey. 

The team sent an Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) report to the district administration last week, suggesting it to shift high-tension lines passing through the proposed airport site and to demolish some structures there. A total of 567 acres of land available near Singanodi village is also said to be under consideration for the proposed airport.  

The Raichur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) president Trivikram Joshi said, about 10 years ago, 800 acres of land belonging to KIADB was handed over to the Karnataka Power Corporation for the YTPS project, despite opposition to the project by environmentalists. 

He said the technical team which visited the site recently felt that landing and take-off of flights on one-way is feasible. “Hence, we will urge Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to earmark funds in the budget for the airport,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner R Venkatesh Kumar told DH that KPTCL had been asked to explore the option of laying underground cable and submit a report to the district administration.

Presently, the KK region has airports in Kalaburagi, Bidar, Jindal (Ballari district), Baldota aerodrome (Koppal). An airport is proposed in Yadgir too.

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