The bench of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad refused to hear the matter in detail and said that the matter is purely a policy decision of the government and concerned authorities in which the court cannot intervene. The petitioner, Radha Shyam Jena, practising advocate, stated in the plea that the defunct airstrip situated adjacent to the state of Jharkhand and West Bengal can be utilized for industrial purposes, thereby generating mass employment for thousands including skilled technicians and factories for manufacturing missiles and fighter planes.
The plea held that the airstrip is far from public use after the Second World War, and can now be used as a landing ground for planes and training space for special bombing missions.
The plea stated that the revival of the airstrip would strengthen defence by converting the location into a training facility for the air force, given its proximity to Chandipur the Integral Testing Range (ITR), where missiles are tested from time to time.
In comparison to other states, Odisha has got only one effective airport with an expansive population of over five crores. Revival of the airstrip can serve the purposes of the aerospace industry, creating job opportunities and fostering inter-state trade of missiles and fighter planes.
The plea also claimed that since the population of that area is dominated by tribal folk, it appears that the government has neglected the area for proper utilization.
The plea added that the court is the last hope to give proper direction for the utilization of the inoperative airstrip in the interest of the general public - not only of the state of Odisha but for the entire country.
The Amarda Road Airstrip (a strip of land designated for use by aeroplanes during takeoff and landing) lying inoperative since 1945 was a 3-crore project built by the British Indian government that covers nearly 600 acres. It was constructed in the year 1943 as an air-fighting training unit and was operational till 1945 during the Second World War.
The airstrip had the longest runway in Asia, which was over 3.5 km long. The total runways, aprons, taxiways etc. were more than 60 km. (ANI)
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