AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh government has renewed its bid to take over the defunct airstrip in Puttaparthi town in Anantapur district and initiate commercial operations from there.
State IT and Industries, Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy who was in Anantapur on Monday to visit the Biotechnology Park, at Kodur village in Chilamathur mandal had earlier met with the Satya Sai Central Trust Managing Trustee R J Rathnakar in Puttaparthi to discuss the project. R. J. Rathnakar, R&B minister Shankar Narayana, MP Gorantla Madhav, and MLA Sridhar Reddy were present at the meeting.
The airstrip was used for chartered services, for VIPs visiting the Satya Sai Baba ashram. But after his death, the airport lost its sheen. The 1000-meter-long airstrip was constructed by L&T ECC. It was later extended to enable the operation of jet aircraft. In 2012, the government of the then united Andhra Pradesh, headed by N Kiran Kumar Reddy, had sought to take over the airstrip and turn it into an airport for commercial operations. But it could not materialise due to the political situation and the subsequent bifurcation of the State.
Minister Goutham Reddy said that the government wanted to speed up the process including land acquisition towards the expansion of the airport to provide a terminal for at least 100 passengers. He said that the Sathya Sai Central trust representatives responded positively to the state government's efforts in reviving commercial flights at Puttaparthi airport.
The Uyyalawada Kurnool Airport was recently launched in the Kurnool district for commercial operations. Tirupati also has Renigunta Airport and there is an airport in YSR Kadapa district which was launched in 2015. If all goes well Puttaparthi could become the fourth airport in Anantapur in the Rayalaseema region with one in each district. Launching commercial operations in the Puttaparthi airport will help in industrial growth in the region as the expansion of a biotech park, industrial development in the district were being carried out, and having an airport here would be beneficial, the Minister said. (With inputs from DC)