FROM A CORRESPONDENT
NEW DELHI, Oct 15: Being aware of the communication gap in the Northeastern states, the Centre has decided to develop the airports of this land locked region. It has also decided to take several other inclusive steps.
“Currently, our main focus is to provide air connectivity to remote and interior areas of the country, the Northeastern region, along with the tier-II and tier-III cities of India. For this, new and innovative solutions in the form of Route Dispersal Guidelines, aircraft acquisition and deployment of low-cost airports will be put in place,” said Anil Srivastava, joint secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation to The Sentinel.
In an exclusive interview, Srivastava said that there is a need to develop India as an intertiol hub for passengers. “An action in this regard has already been initiated, which includes revisiting the policy regarding bilateral air service agreements with different countries and also ratiolization of all bilateral and traffic entitlements on intertiol routes to Indian carriers and ratiolization of traffic on domestic routes,” Srivastava said.
The Centre has already approached various state governments for reduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) and under writing of seats so that it could be made affordable. The number of operatiol airports in the country is very small. There are 454 airports/airstrips in the country, out of which only 93 are operatiol.
“The respective state governments can provide the land required for expansion and road and power connectivity to the airport. We are in the process of identifying the most suitable low-cost viable model for development of small airports to promote and enhance regiol and remote areas connectivity,” Srivastava said.