After lying non-operational for several months, Jagdalpur airport has finally resumed its services from today. Rechristened as Ma Danteshwari airport, it was e-inaugurated today by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. The airport will now have 72-seat regular flight service from Jagdalpur to Raipur and Hyderabad.
In his address Baghel said that inauguration of air services from Jagdalpur, will unleash major opportunities and possibilities for development of Bastar Division. “It would take only one hour to reach from Bastar to Raipur and Hyderabad via flight. Now in case of medical emergencies, people of Bastar will be able to reach Raipur,Vishakhapatnam or Hyderabad via flight within an hour. Doctors from metro cities will be able to visit Bastar and provide their expert medical services. Flight services will also promote Bastar Tourism, attracting tourists from across the world.”
Chief Minister said that commencement of air services will also help in development of Banking and telecom sector as well as educational and employment opportunities. “Administrative team of Centre and State Government will be able to travel quickly to Bastar under special circumstances. Youth in Bastar will be able to avail higher education facilities. Businessmen in Bastar will be largely benefitted by the flight services. Art, culture, sports, theatre and other cultural events can be successfully organized now as celebrities will be able to reach Bastar conveniently. This will also unleash plethora of employment opportunities for people of Bastar. It will lead to extensive growth and expansion in employment-oriented sectors such as business, education, medical science, tourism etc,” he added.
Chief Minister also inaugurated the ‘Aamcho Bastar Canteen’ at the airport terminal. This canteen would be run by naxal-affected families.
On the occasion, Union Aviation Minister for State Hardeep Singh Puri said in his message that commencement of air travel services will promote tourism and development in Bastar. He said that Bastar art and culture has its unique identity. On the occasion, he also gave detailed information about the action plan for expansion of Raipur airport, and informed that efforts are being made to develop Jagdalpur and Ambikapur airport under Udaan Yojana.
It is interesting to note that the foundation of Jagdalpur airport was laid in the year 1939 during British rule, before the second world war. On March 13, 1953, the first Prime Minister of India Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru had visited this ‘Jahaaj Bhata’ of Bastar. Much later, on March 20, 1988, ‘Vayudoot Seva’ from Jagdalpur to Bhopal was started by the then Chief Minister Motilal Vora. However, it was in June 2018 that Jagdalpur airport was made functional under the Udaan scheme. However, after few months the airport was forced to shut down as Air Odisha declined to provide flight services.