Thursday, February 04, 2021

Four more airports for Tamil Nadu under regional scheme

Chennai: The Union government has sanctioned money to build airports at Neyveli, Vellore, Ramanathapuram and Thanjavur this year as part of Udan, the regional connectivity scheme, the minister of civil aviation said in a written reply to a question raisedin theRajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Salem airport has got Rs 35 crore of which Rs 15.97 core has been spenttocreatefacilitiesby theAirportsAuthority of India (AAI). Work is also in progress at Vellore, Neyveli and Thanjavur.In responseto a question by P Wilson of the DMK, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Union government had sanctioned money to develop airports in Tamil Nadu. The reply said that five airportshavebeen identified under various rounds of bidding under regional connectivity scheme Udan and developed under the revival or development of airport scheme.

The government has already sanctioned Rs 35 crore for Salem, Rs 30 crore for Neyveli, Rs 44 crore for Vellore, Rs 36.72 crore for Ramnathapuram, Rs 50.59 crore for Thanjavur. Of these airports, Salem has flights from Chennai and a facility has been developed already.

The AAI has spent Rs 11.81crore for Neyveli, Rs 34.87 crore for Vellore,Rs 15.97crorefor Salem to ready the facility for airlines to start flights

An official said the airlines were interested to fly from Chennaito Salem but nottoVellore because of competition from road transport. “Neyveli and Vellore are ready but then the governmentis not ableto attract airlinestoscheduleflights to these airports,” he said.

The location is also a bane. Neyveli is closer to Puducherry, while Vellore is just four hours from Trichy airport. However,Neyveli andVellore are ready while steps are on to start work at Thanjavur and Ramnathapuram (Ramnad). “Thanjavur has an air force facility.Aterminal needstobebuilt for passengers and their traffic system needs to be taken over. However, nothing much seems to have started in Thanjavur,” the official said.

04/02/21 Times of India

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