New airport at Jhansi to boost tourism

The Uttar Pradesh government plans to build a new airport in Jhansi district, aiming to promote the Jhansi, Khajuraho and Gwalior tourist circuit.

Initially, the plan was to expand the existing small airport.

However, at a recent meeting between district officials and those of the UP civil aviation department, it was decided to go with a new one.

Officials said the airport would not only increase tourist inflow, but also take some load off Khajuraho airport, which is 185 km away in Madhya Pradesh.

The Jhansi district administration has been asked to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) and identify land for the purpose.

Jhansi district magistrate Manish Chauhan said, "Jhansi is the central point for all tourists coming to Bundelkhand, whether they are coming to Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh. A lot of research tourists come to the historical city. Many tourists who come to Khajuraho and Orchha also include Jhansi in their itinerary.

"Also, some flights from Khajuraho can be diverted here and the Jhansi, Khajuraho and Gwalior circuit will get better air connectivity."

The Jhansi airport is now used primarily as an army aviation base. According to sources, about six months ago it was decided that the existing airport would be expanded to handle bigger airplanes for domestic flights. However, it was found that the expansion would become rather expensive.

Chauhan said, "In the last two years, circle rates have increased. The land required for expansion is very close to the highway. It was estimated that the compensation amount would come to about Rs 30 - 35 crore, apart from construction costs. Also, there are buildings of historical importance that would have come in the way of expansion."

The matter was presented before Chief Minister Mayawati and cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh on February 12.

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