The Punjab government today signed a tripartite agreement with the Centre and Airports Authority of India under the country’s flagship programme UDAN in the presence of Chief Minister Capt 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. Singh lauded the initiative, saying it will 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. UDAN, a regional connectivity scheme, is an innovative programme of the Centre in collaboration with the states, which enables air operations on un-served routes connecting regional areas and promotes balanced growth, besides making flying affordable for masses. 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 routes will be serviced by Alliance Air from July 2017.
In addition, Delhi-Adampur-Delhi route by Spicejet will be operationalised by August 2017 and Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi by Deccan will become operational by September 2017, the spokesperson said. Approximately one lakh seats will be made available to passengers under the scheme, wherein 50 per cent – 50,000 seats will be under fare cap (which is concessional fares). Requirement of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be shared by central government and the state government in 80:20 ratio. The VGF for the state share will be around Rs three crore per annum. Routes under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) are selected through a transparent bidding process.
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During first round of bidding, 27 proposals have so far been awarded. 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 flagship programme.