Govt targets 1,000 routes under UDAN scheme: Civil aviation minister

Govt targets 1,000 routes under UDAN scheme: Civil aviation minister

On Sunday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said under the UDAN scheme, his ministry has set a target of operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports. He also said that privatisation is required in the field of aviation as it is not the government’s specialisation to run airports.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri addressed a press conference over the Union Budget 2021-22, at the BJP’s state office Kushabhau Thakre Parisar. The minister said in the conference, “My ministry has set a target to operationalise 100 unserved and underserved airports and start at least 1,000 air routes under the UDAN scheme.”

Puri said that under the regional connectivity scheme, the domestic flight services from Bilaspur town in Chhattisgarh will begin from March 1.

The aviation minister said, “Fifty-six airports have already been upgraded and over 700 routes awarded, of which air-service has commenced on 311 routes under the UDAN scheme since it was launched in 2017 with a budget of ₹4,500 crore.”

Highlighting the importance of the privatisation Puri said, “Privatisation is required as it is not the government’s specialisation to run airports. Although there are several airports which are being successfully run, when private capital enters, the activities increase manifold.”

Replying to a question on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on the budget, Puri blamed the opposition for weakening the economic condition of Air India. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier said that the budget reflects the Centre’s intention to privatise PSUs.

Puri replied and said, “If the point was being raised about privatisation of Air India, which is our national asset, its economic condition was worsened during the Congress-led UPA government.”

The aviation minister has assured that the privatisation process will be carried out transparently through open bidding.

“In 2006, during the Congress-led UPA government, the privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports was done and I give credit to them for it as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) got ₹29,000 crore from the move which was used for the development of other airports,” he said.

On the farmers’ protest, he expressed confidence that the issue will be resolved soon.

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