Bhubaneswar: The Central government Monday cancelled the proposal to have a water aerodrome on Chilika lake in Odisha. The Centre, however, offered to locate the project on any other water body in the state if the Odisha government desire.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) chairman, Guruprasad Mohapatra, has informed the chief secretary AP Padhi that the sea plane project on Chilika lake has been dropped.

“Following a request from the state government through videoconferencing to cancel the project as it would affect Chilika’s ecology, we have decided not to go ahead with the project,” he said. “If the Odisha government agrees for water aerodrome in any other locations then we will provide all the assistance”, he added.

The chief executive of Chilika Development Authority(CDA), Susanta Nanda, has confirmed the AAI decision while speaking to the media.

The CDA, the environemntalists and the fishermen were objecting the the seaplane project on the ground of ecological disturbances and loss of livelihood.

Nanda, in a letter to the state government last week, had pointed that the  seaplanes will “seriously jeopardize” the habitat of Chilika’s nearly one million avian visitors, which include 230 bird species and 97 migrants from the Arctic and Eurasian regions, the report states.

“Operation of seaplane and water aerodrome at Chilika, the world’s second largest brackish water lake, is likely to cause irrevocable damage to the ecosystem and livelihood of people dependent on it. 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 explained.

The AAI , in  June, had announced to set up aerodrome projects in Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. Chilika in Odisha was the preferred site. A team of experts from the Centre had visited the area and conducted a study after the civil aviation ministry had given its nod to the Chilika proposal.