Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has requested chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Chhattisgarh for personal intervention on matters such as land allocation for airports so that their development can be expedited. In his letters to the CMs, Scindia requested them to instruct the officers concerned to initiate action on matters such as deposition of funds with the Regional Air Connectivity Fund Trust and viability gap funding support for international UDAN flight operations, according to a statement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA). Under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN, financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to select airlines to encourage operations from unserved and underserved airports, and keep airfares affordable.
The Centre-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) has embarked upon development and expansion of airports in the country at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore in the next four to five years in order to meet the growing passenger demand. In the letter written to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Scindia mentioned that the state government is yet to hand over some portions of land for airports’ development.
Scindia said 14.31 acre land is needed at the Tirupati Airport to extend runway and for other operational requirements, the statement said. He added that 10.25 acre land at Rajahmundry airport for construction of residential colony and 50 acre land at the Kadapa airport for extension of runway and approach lighting system are yet to be handed over to AAI by the state government.
The aviation minister also highlighted that the diversion of Eluru canal needs to be undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government for extension of runway up to 4,000 m at the Vijaywada airport. He observed that an amount of Rs 14.64 crore needs to be deposited with the Regional Air Connectivity Fund Trust at the earliest by the Andhra Pradesh government, the MoCA statement mentioned.
Scindia has also written to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu seeking his intervention in land acquisition for various airport projects. He said 5.5 acre land is needed for installation of airport equipment and construction of residential colony for airport staff at the Tezu Airport. Another 70 acres at Dirang, 34.3 acres at Daporijo, 2.3 acres at Passighat, 7 acres at Along and 10.6 acres at Ziro are also needed, the minister noted in the letter.
“Scindia has also written to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma drawing his attention to matter of land requirements of 78.5 acre at Dibrugarh Airport, 109 acres at Lilabari Airport, 116.5 acre at Silchar Airport and 50 acre at Jorhat Airport," the ministry said in the statement. In his letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, the Union minister underscored the land requirements of 49.5 acre at the Patna airport for runway extension and other works, 50 acre at the Purnia Airport for development of new civil enclave, 121 acre at Raxaul to develop the airport for ATR72 type of Aircraft, 475 acre at Muzaffarpur airport to develop it for operation of A320 type of aircraft, 78 acre at Darbhanga for development of new civil enclave along with a new light system.
He also requested Kumar to consider the provision of 100 per cent viability gap funding support for commencing international UDAN flights from Patna and Gaya (Gaya-Bangkok, Gaya-Kathmandu, Gaya-Yangon, Patna-Kathmandu and Patna-Dubai). “On receipt of the consent of the state government for 100 per cent viability gap funding support, routes will be put for bidding (under the UDAN scheme) for the airlines," the MoCA mentioned.
While writing to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Scindia highlighted the matters related to land requirement of 569 acre at Raigarh for development of the airport to make it suitable for operations of ATR72 aircraft or Q400 aircraft in phase-l and A320 aircraft in phase-II. He also urged the CM to intervene and expedite the development of Ambikapur airport for flight operations under the UDAN scheme for which a budget of Rs 90 crore has been allocated, the statement added.
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