June 15, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The Punjab Government on Thursday (June 15) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of India (GoI) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) under the country’s flagship programme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik). The memorandum was signed in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said the tripartite agreement was signed by Usha Padhee (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation on behalf of GoI), Tejveer Singh (Secretary Civil Aviation for Punjab Government) and G.K Chaukiyal (Executive Director for AAI) here at the Chief Minister’s Residence.
Captain Amarinder Singh lauded the initiative saying it would give a major boost to the local trade and industry, especially in Ludhiana, besides helping the state explore untapped commercial potential in the border areas to create huge job opportunities for the state’s unemployed youth.
The four airports of Bathinda, Ludhiana, Pathankot and Adampur have been connected under the scheme through five proposals. While Delhi-Bathinda-Delhi by Alliance Air is already operational, Delhi-Pathankot-Delhi and Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi, also by Alliance Air, would be made operational by July 2017. In addition, Delhi-Adampur-Delhi by Spicejet will be operationalized by August 2017 and Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi by Deccan would become operational by September 2017, the spokesperson revealed.
Approximately one lakh seats would be made available to passengers under the scheme, wherein 50% i.e. 50,000 seats would be under fare cap (which is concessional fares). Requirement of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be shared by Central Government and State Government in 80:20 ratio. The VGF for Punjab State (State share) would work out to Rs.3 crore (approximate) per annum.
UDAN, a Regional Connectivity Scheme, is an innovative scheme of GoI in collaboration with the State Governments, which enables air operations on un-served routes connecting regional areas and promotes balanced growth, besides making flying affordable for masses.
Routes under UDAN are selected through a transparent bidding process. During first round of bidding, 27 proposals have so far been awarded, 128 routes involving 33 un-served and 12 under-served airports. The scheme has large outreach and all regions have been connected (Northern region 17, Southern 11, North Eastern 6, Western 24 and Eastern 12), Padhee informed the Chief Minister, giving details of the scheme.