Commercial flights will operate from the Burnpur airstrip of Iisco Steel Plant (ISP) within the next few months. Moloy Ghatak, state law, judiciary and labour minister, while speaking at a seminar on ‘Driving growth to the next level’ organised by the Merchants Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said that the construction work of the airstrip of the Steel Authority of India Limited (Sail) is almost complete and he expects flight operations to commence very soon.

Ghatak said that Spicejet will operate the flights from Burnpur to Guwahati via Bagdogra under the regional connectivity Ude Desh Ki Aam Nagarik (UDAN) Scheme. He said that once the Burnpur airstrip becomes fully operational, it will be the fourth airport in Bengal after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, Bagdogra Airport and Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Andal, having commercial flights.

Bhaskar Kumar, GM (Estate) of ISP, said that the CPSU is awaiting the license for commercial flight operations from the Director General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA). He said that the Airport Authority of India helped them and the construction work is almost complete. But, the DGCA has sought the removal of certain obstacles after which, there will be a final on the spot verification.

He added that few trees will be trimmed and the length of one of the mobile towers needs to be shortened. The senior executive said that he hopes that the flight services of 20 seater aircrafts will commence from Burnpur this year. However, no official confirmation has been received from Spicejet on this matter.

Ghatak, said that the Asansol – Durgapur industrial belt is the largest in Bengal and is very well connected with the roads, ports and the airport. He said that the state government has given certain Standard Operating Procedures and has eased the formalities for doing business, as well as, for setting up of industries.The strength of this region are the mines, minerals, coal and shale gas blocks, deposited underneath, which will play a greater role in bringing fresh investments in the region.

The minister added that the state is expanding industries to the second tier and third tier cities from the city. Vivek Gupta, president of MCCI, thanked chief minister Mamata Banerjee for withdrawing the agricultural tax collecting check posts in the state. He said that a road map of investments in Asansol and Durgapur needs to be built as the CPCB has banned further investments due to high level of pollutions.