Sea plane in brackish water? AAI drops aerodrome project at Chilika Lake
The Odisha government had asked the CDA to study the Civil Aviation Ministry's proposal for setting up a water aerodrome and sea plane operation from the lagoon.
The proposed water aerodrome project at Chilika Lake in Odisha has been dropped by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), told reporters in Bhubaneshwar on Monday that the AAI has cancelled the seaplane project in the lake which, if implemented, would have negatively impacted the ecosystem and the surrounding human population at the world's second largest brackish water lake.
Nanda reportedly said that the AAI has decided to shelve the project following stiff opposition from environmentalists and the CDA. The officer told PTI that the Odisha government has been informed by the aviation body about the decision.
Earlier, the CDA in its report to the state government had reportedly said that the aerodrome project would seriously jeopardise the habitat of Chilika's nearly one million avian visitors which come from the Arctic and Eurasian regions.
"The cost involved in the operation of seaplane seems to outweigh the benefits likely to accrue from it. Besides, legally the project is not feasible," the CDA chief executive had reportedly stated in the report.
The Odisha government had reportedly asked the CDA to study the Civil Aviation Ministry's proposal for setting up a water aerodrome and sea plane operation from the lagoon.
The CDI reportedly said that the lake is a highly productive eco-system with rich fishery resources sustaining the livelihood of more than two lakh fishermen who live in and around the lake. Further, the report added that based on its rich biodiversity and socio-economic importance, Chilika lake is designated as a Ramsar Site in 1981 as wetland of international importance.
Notably, Chilika Lake preserves 335 species of fish, 230 species of birds and 399 phytoplanktons, 729 plants, and 30 reptiles, making it a unique aquatic eco-system in the world.
The Chilkia lake is one of the two known lagoons in the world that supports Irrawaddy dolphin population, besides having the largest population of the threatened species in the world.
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The CDA report had reportedly said that the impact of sea plane landing and take off would endanger these species, breeding of fish, besides sounding the death knell for the tourism industry. It had also cited fears that the livelihood of nearly 5000 families dependent on tourism would also be affected.