AIR spotlight summary on “Upgradation of Airports in North East Region”.
- In a major announcement in the civil aviation sector, the Airports Authority of India announced a push for the infrastructure in the North-east particularly in the civil aviation infrastructure where they would be spending nearly 3400 crore in the development of new airfields, new terminals, new flight gateways in the north-eastern region.
- The airports in the region registered a growth of 27.02 per cent in the total passenger movement over the previous year. Guwahati airport has seen a major growth in passenger travel which is an indication that the region needs connectivity and more airports to feed the desires of the people.
- North-east and other parts of India are totally different where the connectivity has always been an issue with the north-east. The governments have been working for improving the air connectivity to address the problem of connectivity in the north-east.
- Of the 3400 crore announcement made, the work on 2400 crore is already going on where infrastructure is being created in various parts of north-east. Creating infrastructure in places that are not easily accessible is difficult. The government expects that the infrastructure will be in place by 2020 and no major region in the north-east would remain unconnected. Pakyong Airport in Sikkim, a new Greenfield airport will be inaugurated shortly.
- Arunachal Pradesh is one of the key focus areas of the government. Of the 3400 crores, Rs 211 crore is for Arunachal Pradesh where the Itanagar airport will be upgraded. Since Arunachal Pradesh share border with China, there are many Indian Air force’s Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) which will be upgraded to ensure that civil operations can be carried out from those ALGs.
- The Assam government’s initiative of connecting the entire north-east with the south-east Asian countries would give a major boost in the international scale in terms of religious tourism since north-east is part of Buddhist circuit.
Major Connectivity Programmes
- The north-east will be getting a boost in the air connectivity through schemes like UDAN(Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) Scheme; the state governments have approached the central government to provide international connectivity scheme in line with regional connectivity scheme, where state governments will provide the subsidy and the logistics will be provided by the central government. These subsidised fights will operate from Guwahati airport to Southeast Asian countries.
- The Ministryof Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) is also working on a plan to provide helicopter based OPD services in the region so that people in the interior part can be brought to a district headquarter or state capital where there are better medical services.
- The government had also announced Rs 90,000 crore road development programmes in the north-east which is to provide connectivity to the ASEAN nations. So it is a collective effort of the government to provide connectivity. There are also plans for seaplane in the north-east by private players. The advantage is that they don’t need runways and the plane can land on a river and there are plenty of waterways available in north-east. Since lot of developments are happening together the north-east will get a major boost in the connectivity.