Upgradation of Airports in North East
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General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
- Infrastructure : Airports
In news: The Airport Authority of India announced a major push to the infrastructure of airports in north east, particularly, in the civil aviation assets where nearly 3500 crore rupees more will be spend on development of new airfields, terminals, new flight gateways in the north eastern region.
The connectivity has been poor between north eastern states and rest of India till now. Thus, North-east has to be looked from a different perspective. People have been working on improving the air connectivity to address various problems.
- The government is giving huge boost to air connectivity through UDAN scheme. Under two phases, connectivity is provided to about 28 airports and heliports in north east.
- The state governments have approached central government on lines of regional connectivity scheme and proposed that central government should provide an international connectivity scheme wherein the subsidy amount will be funded by the state government and the civil aviation ministry will carry out award process for international subsided flights. These international subsidized flights will operate out of Guwahati airport to South East Asian countries.
- The DONER ministry (Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region) is working on a plan to provide helicopter based OPD services in various parts of states and within the states. This will help the people in interior of the states to be brought to district HQs and state capital for better medical services.
- Act East is not just looking at aviation, government has announced 90000 crore road development programme for north east to provide connectivity to ASEAN nations like Myanmar and Thailand.
- Introduction of seaplanes is also considered as they don’t need runways and can land on rivers. North east region having significant presence of different water bodies, it will give a major boost in connectivity.
Why need airport upgrade?
The growth in domestic passenger in India was 16.7% in April-Dec 2017 and the growth of passengers from Guwahati airport was 27.6% which is more than the national average. Though it is at a lower base, the growth in first nine months implies that this part of the country needs connectivity and airports and infrastructure to feed the desire of people of that region.
Presence of Physical infrastructure
The government expects the airport infrastructure to be in place by 2020. There are various delays when infrastructure is created in areas that are not easily accessible. Currently, the target is to finish it by 2020. At present, 2400 crore has already been in operations in creating airport infrastructures. In terms of airports being created, Pakyong airport in Sikkim will be operational very soon. Thus, Actions to be taken at various airports include- strengthening runways, decreasing length of runways and establishing instrument landing system which allows landing and take off during night. Terminal needs to be developed and upgradation of Indian Air force’s Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) to enable civil operations from ALGs.
Areas like Arunachal Pradesh are largely inaccessible by roads and civil aviation will help to connect it to major parts of the country. Even the North Eastern Council has put maximum emphasis on the transport and communication sector with the construction of 10,500 kms of roads including inter-state and roads of economic importance and giving funds for upgradation of infrastructure in 12 operational airports in the region. Thus, connectivity was the core concern of north east india and to address it as a lightening sped will boost the spirits as well as economy of the region.
Connecting the dots:
- Airports will surpass railways to become more preferred mode of transport for long routes which will help in establishing regional connectivity in short term and economic prosperity in long term. Elaborate.
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