The Maharashtra state government has sanctioned Rs 221 crore to transform the current airstrip in Karad, located in the Satara district, into a full-fledged airport.
The project, supported by Prithviraj Chavan during his tenure as chief minister, however, was delayed due to the necessity of hill cutting and the diversion of transmission lines and roads for its expansion.
At present, there is an airport in Kolhapur, which is approximately 75 km away from Karad.
Constructed in 1955 by the Public Works Department, the airstrip was intended to aid the operations at the Koyna dam.
It saw significant use during Chavan’s tenure as the chief minister and currently serves primarily as a training ground for flying schools.
Spanning 65 acres, the airport will undergo further expansion under the supervision of the Maharashtra Airport Development Company. However, it lacks facilities for night navigation.
According to HT report, the site was selected due to its proximity to the National Highway.
Previously, when flooding led to the closure of the Kolhapur Airport, the Karad airstrip took over for flights. It has the capability to accommodate ATR aircraft. Currently, a flight school with four aircraft is operational at this site.
On Wednesday (29 November), a resolution from the government was issued stating that the state had already approved Rs 95 crore in 2012. Additionally, the state has sanctioned a plan amounting to Rs 221 crore on the same day.
The purchase of the land is projected to amount to Rs 79 crore and an additional expenditure of Rs 7.12 crore is set aside for rehabilitation purposes.
Furthermore, an allocation of Rs 20 crore is reserved for the procurement of land intended for rehabilitation. The construction of the terminal building will require an investment exceeding Rs 10 crore.
The government will also spend Rs 14.59 crore for the tasks like flattening the land, construction of the compound wall and creation of channels for water accumulated during the rains.