Are you pressed for time, but dreaming of getting away for a weekend, and leave the boring urban bustle behind? Well, the UDAN scheme will definitely help you.
Around 12 tourist spots including Ajanta-Ellora, Hampi and Kaziranga could soon be connected by air, reports the Financial Express. The Tourism Ministry will provide the Viability Gap funds, which are required to operate flights to these places.
Treating the proposal for it as a vertical initiative of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which is popularly known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), the Ministry of Civil Aviation has set up a joint committee comprising of its own officials along with ones from the Ministry of Tourism, to work out its finer points and earmark airports.
The scheme seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports in India and make flying even more affordable.
UDAN was launched in June 2016, and under it, the government has collected a levy of Rs 214 crore, from scheduled airline operators, to fund the scheme and has disbursed Rs 60 crore, as the Viability Gap Fund to the airline operators till May 2018, to operate in Tier II and Tier III airports.
KJ Alphons, the Tourism Minister (Independent Charge), had a meeting with Suresh Prabhu, the Civil Aviation Minister, and Jayanta Sinha, the Minister of State, to discuss the Tourism Ministry’s proposal.
According to a senior official from the Ministry of Aviation, 12 sites across the country have been identified by the Tourism Ministry for development, under the ‘Iconic Tourist Sites Project,’ and are under consideration for being provided air connectivity.
The Tourism Ministry will provide the earlier-mentioned Viability Gap Funds, so existing flyers don’t undergo any financial burdens.
As for the progress of the UDAN scheme,16 of the 31 unserved airports awarded under UDAN 1 are operational, and the remaining 15, will be operational by the end of July. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Standards had individually reached out to the states to train people as well.
The earlier-mentioned tourist sites are just three of the proposed dozen to receive air connectivity. Additionally, the Assam Government has also offered to extend Rs 100 crore, to start international flight services from Guwahati.
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Well, with the scheme underway, and new locations being identified for air travel, flying to and from popular tourist destinations like Hampi, is all set to become a reality!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)