The Ministry of Defence has granted permission to the Odisha government to work for “development of airstrip” at Rasgovindpur in Mayurbhanj district, an official said on Wednesday. The airstrip, built during the Second World War, has been remained abandoned. The Odisha government has been permitted to “develop the airstrip on defence land measuring 160.35 acres as against a cash compensation of Rs 26.03 crore,” the official said.

The cash has to be deposited with the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) before execution of working permission, he said.

The ministry also suggested that a separate board of officers should be “convened to ascertain exact location, demarcation of land, its cost and modalities of transfer, and security and safety measures” among others.

Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs Bishweswar Tudu thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for granting permission for “development of the airstrip” in his tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency.

The airstrip belonging to DRDO was included in the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme.

The state government, had in February, written a letter to the Defence ministry, seeking a non-objection certificate from the Defence Research and Development Organisation for commencement of commercial flight operations from the airstrip.

The DRDO had, in April, recommended and submitted a proposal to the ministry for granting ‘no objection’ to Odisha for using the airstrip and working permission to develop a civil enclave there.