Bhubaneswar: The UDAN scheme for regional air connectivity has been put on track with Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi reviewing its progress in the State Secretariat today.
Chief Secretary Padhi directed the concerned officials to complete the 1st Phase work on the Jharsuguda airstrip and get it ready for landing of flights by September 1, 2017. Padhi further directed officials to expedite preparatory work in other air strips of the state to make them ready to hots flights.
Five airstrips in Odisha have been selected for inclusion in UDAN scheme. From among these, Biju Pattanaik International Air Port, Bhubaneswar will work as the mentor airport. The other four airstrips are located at Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Utkela ( Kalahandi) and Jeypore ( Koraput). A State Level Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary involving Home, Police, Airports Authority of India (AAI), representatives from regional airline, and oil companies to ensure effective implementation of the scheme. The first meeting of the Committee was held today under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary. It may be pertinent here to mention that a MOU on RCS-UDAN was signed among Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India, Govt of Odisha and Airports Authority of India in March, 2017.
To facilitate the regional Connectivity during initial periods, State Govt has decided to reduce VAT from 5% to 1% and provide 20% of the Viable Gap Fund. State Govt would also provide land, security and fire services free of cost. Electricity and water would also be provided at minimum rate. Routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity. The State government has decided to provide these subsidies and financial assistance to promote flight operations and keep the passenger fares at affordable level. As per initial calculations, the average price of a subsidized ticket to be paid by the passengers for these flights would be around Rs.2500.
Additional Chief Secretary Home Asit Kumar Tripathy, Director General of Police Kunwar Brajesh Singh, Special Secretary General Administration Ashok Kumar Meena, Works Secretary Nalinikanta Pradhan along with senior officers from Ministry of Civil Aviation, Departments of Finance, Revenue & Disaster Management, Regional Connectivity Air Line Operators, Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd participated in discussions.
Special Secretary G.A and Civil Aviation Sri Ashok Kumar Meena outlined the issues for discussions. Considering the issues,