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View Aruchal from the prism of its uniqueness: Minister

Our Correspondent

Itagar, December 31: Aruchal Pradesh Civil Aviation Minister Thangwang Wangham has pleaded the Centre to take into account the unique features of the North Eastern states, particularly Aruchal Pradesh in its proposed new policy.

Attending the consultation of the Draft Civil Aviation Policy, convened by the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju at New Delhi yesterday, Wangham suggested that provision for a Special Package for the North Eastern region would inevitably go a long way in addressing the collective aspirations of the people, an official communiqué said here today.

Stressing on development of airports, the minister pointed out that strategically located Aruchal should be viewed from the prism of its inherent uniqueness.

Wangham proposed the ministry to include a provision for construction of new airports of ‘short take off and landing’ type in the prospective locations of the state.

He also requested the ministry to ratiolize the cost of air turbine fuel saying that commercial fixed wing airlines was yet to start in the state due to the absence of a full–fledged airport.

“The present rate of tax on Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) in the state is 20 per cent. State government can review the rate in due course to attract fixed wing airlines,” he said.

He further said that the new policy should provide for a regiol cargo hub within the region which would widen the scope of various region–specific trade and commerce activities.

“Aruchal with its potential in sectors such as food processing, floriculture and agriculture will stand to benefit considerably from such a hub. I propose the establishment of a regiol cargo hub, preferably in Guwahati which is the hub and gateway to all the North Eastern states,” he said.

Stating that there was a need to include a provision of employing people from the region in the civil aviation sector, Wangham said the policy should give adequate weightage to capacity building, training and assistance for manpower at all levels.

“This will, in the long term facilitate the manning of airports, remote helipads and Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) by technically trained professiol people at the local level,” he pointed out.

He also suggested that while reviewing the ‘Route Dispersal Guidelines’ for the operators for operating in regiol connectivity, provision for special incentives are allowed to the operators for the first few years of starting, the communiqué said.

While considering low load factors, this would eble operators to gradually increase the loads by exploiting huge potential in tourism and other sector. Further, for a hilly state like Aruchal, air connectivity was also required for specific needs of Army, Para military forces and construction agencies like BRO and this aspect may also included in the Policy, he added.

He said, due to non–functiol airports in forward areas, civil Air vigation Service was not available except the nearest operatiol civil airports at Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Lilabari. Also, many remote forward areas are out of range from these airports.

“It is essential that a policy is adopted to set up a few Civil Air Traffic Centers in coordition with the Army in such remote locations so as to cover all the remote areas within range irrespective of having airport, since a safe flying environment is to be ensured by the ministry,” he said.

“The policy may envisage the setting up of modern Air vigation Systems/ATC installations in select locations with the help of service providers empanelled with the ministry. A prelimiry study of the same may be undertaken for subsequent inclusion of recommendations as part of the policy framework,” he added. While pleading for development of helicopter aviation, the minister reasoned that the service would help timely disposal of relief & aid in the wake of tural calamities, medical relief including medical evacuation for emergency and periodic vaccition in a timely manner besides supply of ration and essential items. A provision for introducing Air Ambulance Services may also be considered for this purpose, he said. Wangham also demanded for inclusion of the Greenfield Airport at Itagar in the union budget including ALGs, to increase frequency of commercial flights to the Leelabari airport in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district, the communiqué added.

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Ankur Kalita

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