Central-state JVs to be explored to promote air connectivity
New Delhi: The Government today said that it is trying to come out with a policy on having joint ventures between state and central governments to promote air connectivity under the UDAN scheme.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu also said that there have been some operational problems in implementing the second phase of UDAN scheme as state government are unable to provide infrastructure and develop airports in states and some airlines have backed out after getting contracts.
"We are trying to come out with a policy and it is in advanced stage of discussion, as to how we can work with state governments to have joint ventures with them," the minister said while replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.
He said many state governments are coming out with proposals as air travel is becoming popular and more and more people want to travel by it and every state is trying to promote it.
"We are trying to work on a policy wherein state and central government will sit down and find out if there is any viability gap and who will fund the viability gap. Either the central tourism ministry or the state governments can fund it and we are trying to identify this area," he told members.
On why the scheme has not been implemented, Prabhu said the government has faced some problems in Phase 2 as some airlines have backed out after getting contracts and now the government is trying to find other airlines for the task.
He also said that for the UDAN scheme to be successful, some state governments have not been able to develop airports and "we are trying to sort this out".
To another question, the minister said the state government has to provide infrastructure for creation of helipads in Himachal Pradesh to enable the government to start helicopter services in the hill state.
He agreed with another member that Odisha is blessed with a lot of tourism potential and air connectivity will be one of the means for achieving this and the government will work with state government to move forward on it.
In his written reply, the minister said the Ministry of Civil Aviation has already launched the regional connectivity scheme (RCS- UDAN version 2) on August 24.
"Airport Authority of India, the implementing agency has awarded 88 (65 with fixed wing and 23 with helicopter) RCS networks to 15 selected airline operators for commencing RCS flight operations including in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Of these 88 proposals, 23 proposals are related to helicopter operations," he said.
The minister said under UDAN 2 scheme, priority areas have been included, which are states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, north eastern region of India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands.
"In second round of bidding under RCS-UDAN, 17 proposals for fixed wing and 23 proposals for helicopters have been awarded for RCS flight operations in priority areas," he said.