Wednesday, April 10, 2019

24 years on, flights are yet to land in coaching hub

Commencement of commercial air flights remains a distant dream for the residents of Kota, almost twoand-a-half decades ago they were suspended in 1995.
The six Lok Sabha elections since were a witness to candidates and elected representatives promising that the flights would resume soon. The issue prevails and promises are being made, again.
Air connectivity from Kota is a necessity for sustainability of growth of coaching, industrial units and for promotion of tourism in Kota and Bundi, which often fail to get their share of foreign visitors due to the absence of air connectivity.
It also affects a large section of the 1.75 lakh students who arrive in Kota, the coaching hub of the country, every year.
BJP candidate and sitting MP Om Birla, in the state assembly election in 2013 and later in his parliamentary election in 2014, had assured the resumption of commercial flights from Kota airport.
In a weak attempt, recommencement of domestic air flight from Kota to Jaipur was kicked off by the then CM Vasundhra Raje on August 18, 2017 in presence of Om Birla. However, that turned out to be nothing more than a photo op for the politicians.
The continuity could not be sustained for more than eight months. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) in April 2018 directed Airport Authority of Kota (AAK) to stop the operation citing unavailability of mandatory clearance with the private airlines company from Directorate General of Civil Aviation and AAI. People in the city found themselves cheated and are upset with the BJP’s “drama’’.
10/04/19 Rajiv Saxena/Times of India