Saturday, November 24, 2018

Why flight services to Maoist-hit Bastar region have been discontinued 5 months after launch

No flights for Bastar region! Due to nonfulfillment of contractual promises, the air service to tribal Bastar region, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June this year, has been discontinued. Rakesh R Sahay, Raipur’s Swami Vivekanand Airport Director was quoted in a TOI report saying that as Air Odisha was unable to fulfil the terms mentioned in the agreement between the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the airline, the air connectivity between Raipur and Jagdalpur, which is the divisional headquarters of Bastar, had been suspended. The agreement stated that the operator will operate at least 70 per cent of the scheduled flights. However, the bidding will be held afresh, Sahay added.

In the month of June, the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh which has been battling Maoist insurgency for a very long time was added to the country’s aviation map. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the first flight service from Jagdalpur to Raipur, under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. Bastar, which is 20 km away from Jagdalpur, got air connectivity with Raipur, which in turn is well connected to different cities across the country. With this, the distance between these two cities came down to just 40 minutes from 6 to 7 hours.

The UDAN scheme of the central government aims to connect small cities and towns across the country by air. It is a regional connectivity scheme under which the government plans to provide air connectivity to remote areas and enhance access in under-served regions of India. The UDAN scheme, under the first round, has enabled the Centre to add as many as 30 new airports on the aviation map in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of the central government, Jagdalpur was one of the four cities in Chhattisgarh to get an airport.
23/11/18 Devanjana Nag/Financial Express

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