Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation has written to Chief Ministers of Manipur and Haryana, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Jammu & Kashmir and Administrator of Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, for their personal intervention in expediting aviation infrastructure under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik). The RCS – UDAN scheme was launched by Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016 to enhance regional air connectivity from unserved and underserved airports in the country by making air travel affordable to the masses.
While writing to Shri N. Biren Singh Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri Scindia has mentioned that Airports Authority of India has awarded heliports at Jiribam, Tamenglong, Moren, Parbung and Thanlon for connecting various destinations in NER under UDAN Scheme. These heliports are to be developed by the State Government. He further informed that the Ministry has earmarked Rs. 15 crore for Jiribam, Rs. 8 crore for Moreh, Rs. 8.5 crore for Parbung, Rs. 8 crore for Tamenglong and Rs. 13.5 crore for Thanlon for upgradation/development of heliports, to be released to the State Government on reimbursement basis.
Similarly, Shri Scindia has written to Shri Manohar Lal, Chief Minister of Haryana, informing that Hissar and Ambala airports have been awarded under UDAN for connecting various destinations. Ministry of Civil Aviation has earmarked Rs. 33 crore for Hissar airport and Rs. 40 crore for Ambala airport for upgradation of infrastructure, provided to the State Government on reimbursement basis. Requesting the State Government for expediting the expansion of runway and other airport related activities on priority, Shri Scindia said that New potential routes from Hissar under RCS – UDAN, may be started after upgradation of airport.
Writing to Admiral D K Joshi (Retd.), Lieutenant Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Shri Scindia has drawn his attention towards following issues:
- Development of water aerodromes under RCS-UDAN: The construction works of infrastructure for the proposed water aerodromes at Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Long Island has been entrusted to Andaman & Lakshadweep Harbor Works (ALHW), an agency under the Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India. Being a time bound project, requisite approval process needs to be expedited to ensure timely operationalisation of seaplane services in A & N Islands under UDAN.
- Development of Water Aerodrome at Port Blair: The selected airline ‘Spicejet’ intends to operate with non-amphibious seaplane on the awarded routes between Port Blair-Swaraj Dweep, Port Blair-Shaheed Dweep & Port Blair-Long Island. This has necessitated development of water aerodrome facility at Port Blair also. UT Administration is requested to identify the new location at Port Blair at the earliest and intimate the same to AAI for necessary prefeasibility survey etc.
- International Air Connectivity to Port Blair: The A & N Islands with its immense potential for tourism are favourably located in close proximity of ASEAN Countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia. The VSI airport at Port Blair has already been designated as a port of entry into India with valid travel documents (including e-visas) for all class of passengers. Further, the Government of India has relaxed the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) for foreign visitors travelling to Islands.
Shri Scindia said that to promote international flights by airlines, the A & N Administration has also relaxed the VAT on ATF from 10% to 0%. Similarly, the Ministry of Defence has also waived off landing charges at Port Blair airport for a period of three years for international flights. In this context, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had consultations with Indian Carriers regarding International Operations from Port Blair. Airlines have expressed their willingness to undertake International UDAN operations with VGF support.
He further added that UT Administration, if it considers appropriate, may convey their consent to provide 100% VGF support for International UDAN operations from Port Blair to International destinations like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok etc. On receipt of the consent of the UT Administration for 100% VGF support, routes will be offered for bidding for the airlines as per the provisions of UDAN International template.
While writing to Shri Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri Scindia has said that Airports Authority of India (AAI), had recently offered routes- ‘Kargil-Jammu-Kargil’ & ‘Kargil-Srinagar-Kargil’ in special round of bidding under UDAN-4.1. However, no bid has been received for these offered routes. The Ministry of Civil Aviation will continue to make efforts to enhance air connectivity to the unserved regions in collaboration with the stakeholders like airlines and airport operators from time to time.
Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia further informed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has held consultation with Indian Carriers for commencing International Operations from Srinagar. Airlines have expressed their willingness to undertake International UDAN operations with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support.
He added that UT Administration, if it considers appropriate, may give their consent to provide VGF support for International (UDAN) operations from Srinagar to Dammam, Sharjah and Muscat. On receipt of the consent of the UT Administration for VGF support, routes will be offered for bidding for the airlines during next round as per the provisions of the Scheme Document. Subsidy required per leg for the International routes connecting Srinagar are as under:-
- Srinagar to Dammam: Rs. 5,00,624/-
- Srinagar to Sharjah: Rs.4,38,836/-
- Srinagar to Muscat: Rs. 4,16,272/-
Writing to Shri Praful K Patel, Administrator of Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Shri Scindia has mentioned that Airports Authority of India (AAI), had recently offered routes – ‘Daman-Diu-Daman’ & ‘Daman-Ahmedabad-Daman’ in special round of bidding under UDAN-4.1. The bids received are at advanced stage of evaluation and are likely to be finalized soon. Daman airport belongs to Indian Coast Guard and it is understood that UT administration is developing a Civil Enclave there. The Ministry has earmarked Rs. 58 crore for upgradation of Daman Airport, to be provided to UT administration on reimbursement basis. While seeking the personal intervention of Shri Praful K Patel in initiating action on priority for establishment of Civil Enclave at Daman, Shri Scindia expressed his commitment towards strengthening of civil aviation infrastructure in UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.