Exciting progress is on the horizon for the ₹300 crore Dhalbhumgarh airport project in Jamshedpur, as the Centre and the Jharkhand government are poised to reach a consensus on its revival. The breakthrough came after the Jharkhand government approved the allocation of 65 hectares of forest land for the project, out of the 99 hectares requested by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
MP Bidyut Baran Mahato of Jamshedpur shared this positive development, stating that for the remaining 35 hectares, three out of the five villages surrounding the proposed airport have agreed to provide their land. Gram sabhas (village meetings) will soon be held in the remaining two villages to finalize the land allocation.
Mahato recently met with Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi, where he emphasized the importance of preserving the Dhalbhumgarh Airport Company Limited (DACL) in light of these developments.
During the meeting, Mahato highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had endorsed the project in 2019, leading to an immediate allocation of ₹100 crore by the AAI. The foundation stone for the airport was laid by the former Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and former Chief Minister Raghubar Das. Furthermore, the current Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, has agreed to withdraw the state’s request for the dissolution of DACL.
The project faced setbacks in the past, with the Environment Assessment Committee (EAC) raising concerns in a report dated September 24, 2020, citing the proximity of the elephant corridor to the project site. The committee recommended exploring an alternative location in consultation with the state’s chief wildlife warden.
Subsequently, the Jharkhand government requested the AAI to dissolve DACL. However, following a meeting chaired by the state’s chief secretary Sukhdev Singh on May 8 this year, it was resolved that the Dhalbhumgarh site remains the most suitable location for the project. It was decided to pursue environmental and forest clearances in coordination with the chief wildlife warden and the Jamshedpur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). CM Soren endorsed this decision and opted to withdraw the dissolution request.
Mahato emphasized that the elephant corridor zone is located in Chandil, approximately 70 km from the DACL project site. He also highlighted the project’s strategic advantage, being only 52 km from Jamshedpur, compared to the over 130 km distance to Ranchi airport.
The Dhalbhumgarh airport, once operational, is expected to benefit Jamshedpur, Jharkhand’s industrial capital, and the West Singhbhum mining belt. It will also cater to the needs of people in neighboring states such as Odisha and West Bengal.