With a little over three months until the 2023 men’s World Cup, organisers are sweating on the airport at Rourkela, one of the two venues to be used for the tournament, to be given the green light to welcome scheduled flights.
Odisha government officials have urged authorities to make the airport operational following expansion, with air transport a key requirement for the World Cup. The airport in Rourkela, the industrial capital of Odisha, was due to be operational from March 2020.
“It is a matter of fact that, the Rourkela Airport is the key infrastructure which will play a major role in transportation during the upcoming Hockey World Cup, and the support from SAIL is highly anticipated to make it operational,” Odisha chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra wrote in a letter last week.
The chief secretary also urged flight connectivity to Jharsuguda. “As an alternative to Rourkela Airport, the VSS Airport at Jharsuguda is the nearest domestic airport having connectivity with cities like Kolkata, Raipur Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar.”
Jharsuguda is one of two airports in Odisha and is situated around 130kms from Rourkela.
The international stadium in Rourkela is a 35-acre site and includes accommodation inside the 120-acre campus of the Biju Patnaik University of Technology.
Officials recently stated during a visit by the FIH last month that everything was on track.
The men’s World Cup will be played from Jan 13-29. Odisha is hosting the quadrennial event for the second time in succession.