Air India aircraft will be hired by the home ministry to facilitate travel of personnel of central armed police forces, Intelligence Bureau and the NDRF serving in remote areas of the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir from home and place of postings, an official said. An amount of Rs 109.84 crore has been sanctioned by the ministry to offer the air services to the security personnel during the first seven months of 2018 by hiring the Air India planes. Priority will be given to those personnel availing the facility for the first, second and third time respectively and those going on temporary duties, subject to availability of seats, a home ministry official told PTI. Air services were introduced a few years ago by the ministry for limited sectors but the scheme has now been expanded with new sectors, enhanced frequency and aircraft with more seats. The Air India is expected to deploy its narrow-body jet Airbus A319 which has around 144 all-economy seats.
The sectors in which the air service will be available are: Delhi-Leh-Delhi, Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi, Delhi-Dibrugarh-Guwahati-Delhi, Kolkata-Imphal-Kolkata, Kolkata-Agartala-Kolkata, Kolkata-Aizwal-Kolkata and Kolkata-Silchar-Kolkata. The service will end a major grievance of the personnel of the CAPF like CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB etc, Intelligence Bureau and National Disaster Response Force deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as they have to spend at least six days of their leave only in travelling, another ministry official said.
The official said though the scheme has been approved until July 31, it will be further extended for the whole year and subsequent years too.