Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the vehement objection by the Odisha government, environmentalists and the unwillingness of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has decided to shelve the water aerodrome project in the Chilika Lake.
Confirming the decision taken on this matter, AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, said the proposed project has been shelved following the request of the state government through video conferencing.
However, he said that the AAI has assured all help to the state government if it comes up with an alternative proposal to set up the water aerodrome in other water bodies within three weeks.
Mohapatra further said that in a letter to the Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, he had apprised him of the decision of the AAI to set up the water aerodrome in Chilika and conduct a feasibility study of the lake. “There was no objection by the state government initially. But later, it changed its mind after some local leaders, environmentalists and the CDA raised objections,” he added.
The CDA Chief Executive, Sushant Nanda in a letter to the state government had said that the project is not feasible legally as the operation of seaplane and water aerodrome in the lake is likely to damage the ecosystem as well as the livelihood of the local fishermen who entirely depend on the lake.
He had further contended that the operation of the seaplane would be hazardous to about one million birds including the migratory species that throng the lake during winter. There is every possibility that these birds might either be sucked in the engines or get hit by the planes and pose a threat to the passengers. Besides, the seaplane would distract the endangered Irrawady dolphins, he had pointed out.