Tuesday, February 09, 2021

India’s gov’t spotlights Assam for aviation development

As part of a major boost to infrastructure development that the Indian government of Narendra Modi has announced for the underdeveloped northeastern state of Assam, 24 routes have been identified in the state under the first phase of Round IV of the country’s UDAN airport development Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

Airports Authority of India, the implementing agency, has identified Jorhat, Lilabari, Rupsi, and Tezpur for development under the scheme as well as heliports at Geleki, Misa, and Nagaon, and water aerodromes at the Guwahati River Front and Umrangso Reservoir.

As previously reported, a route between the latter two water bodies was named last month as part of the SagarMala initiative to link at least 19 locations in India’s inland waterways and outlying islands.

The boost to Assam’s connectivity was announced in a statement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation on February 7.

Under the UDAN scheme, Viability Gap Funding - a public-private partnership instrument which the Indian government launched in 2004 - is provided to Selected Airline Operators (SAOs) to operate the routes. The SAOs are then obligated to commence RCS operations within six months of being issued the award.

In a tweet on February 7, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the projects in Assam are in line with Modi’s “vision of Purvodaya”, a previously announced mission to drive economic growth in eastern India.

In related news, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the state’s first heliport on February 4, on the island district of Majuli in the far north, close to India’s disputed border with China. The heliport has the capacity for up to three helicopters.

The state government has made efforts to position Majuli as a tourist destination, and Sonowal said that the heliport would facilitate tourist flow, as would several projects to strengthen road infrastructure to the island.

09/02/21 ch-aviation

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