Seaplane landing in Chilika ‘not acceptable’, says tourism minister

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Bhubaneswar: A day after a seaplane made undeclared landing in Chilika lake, tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda on Sunday said he will take up the matter with the Forest and Environment department.

The minister said the seaplane operation would affect the ecology of the Asia’s largest blackish lake and also the livelihood of fisherman community.

“I learnt about the landing of a seaplane in Chilika from newspapers. If the incident is true, then it is not acceptable at all. The landing of seaplane will affect the ecosystem of Chilika lake. I will take up the matter with the Forest and Environment department,” Panda said.

Speaking on the issue, Chilika Development Authority (CDA) additional executive officer Sasmita Lenka said it is suspected that the seaplane belongs to coast guard. A probe is underway into the matter, she added.

According to sources, the seaplane landed on Chilika water near Nanganasi mouth of the lake at around 1.30 pm on Saturday, leaving the people inhabiting in nearby villages in a state of panic. It then took off after a stay of over 15 minutes.

Notably, Centre had proposed to construct a water aerodrome in Chilika for regular seaplane operations. However, the proposed project faced oppositions from CDA, locals as well as environmental activists following which the Centre shelved the plan.

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