Finally, seaplane project in Chilika shelved

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Bhubaneswar: Following oppositions from several quarters, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has cancelled the proposed water aerodrome project in Chilika lake for regular seaplane operation, in Puri district of Odisha.

Informing about the development, AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “We have cancelled the water aerodrome project following the request of the state government through video conferencing as it would affect the ecology of Asia’s largest blackish lagoon.”

He also made it clear that the AAI wants to develop the project in Odisha if the government provides an alternative site for it.

“If the Odisha government submits any proposal to establish a water aerodrome in the state, we will provide them all help. However, they have to submit the proposal within three weeks,” Mohapatra said.

In August, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had given approval for construction of water aerodromes in order to start regular seaplane services in the country. In the first phase, Chilka Lake (Odisha), Sabarmati River Front & Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat) were identified for construction of the water aerodrome.

Recently, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) opposed the water aerodrome project citing that it would damage the eco-system of the lake and affect the livelihood of fisherman community.

Earlier, revenue and disaster minister Maheswar Mohanty and former minister Sanjay Das Burma had opposed the proposal of water aerodrome facility in Chilika lake citing similar reasons.

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