Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha today said four places in the state would get airports as part of the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. “Work on airports (airstrips) in Ambikapur, Bilaspur, Jagdalpur and Raigarh is currently on under the UDAN scheme and is expected to get completed in the next 6-8 months possibly,” Sinha said while speaking at an function here. He informed that, as soon as the work was completed, Air Deccan and Air Odisha had consented to deploy 19-seater aircrafts on these routes. “These cities will be connected to Raipur, Ranchi (Jhakhand), Jharsuguda and Rourkela (Odisha) and will ensure better air connectivity in the eastern zone with Jharkhand, Odisha and Raipur getting connected by small planes,” the minister said.
Stating that the aviation scenario was set to change in the next 15-20 years, he said that passenger trips, currently at 20 crore, would rise to 100 crores during this period. “Right now airlines fly 500 airplanes, which will increase to 1500-2000 planes as airlines operators have already placed firm orders for 950 planes. Presently there are 200 helicopters in the country which is expected increase to 400-500,” Sinha said.
Stating that airspace management required focus, Sinha said, “In the past 70 years (before BJP led NDA government), only 75 airports were built in the country. The current government is building 56 airports and 31 helipads over the past two years and the number of airports will soon reach 131.”.
Briefing about various schemes of his department, he said, the turnover of airlines had reached around Rs 1.8 lakh crore which is almost equal to that of the Indian Railways and the telecom sector in the country. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir were also present at the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahir said the Chhattisgarh government was heading on the path of development while tackling the challenge of Naxalism. “With the joint efforts of the Central government and the state, the menace of Naxalism will soon be eliminated,” Ahir said.