One hour flights to cities like Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Varanasi from Allahabad for just Rs 2500 will become a reality soon. Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’, UP cabinet minister of stamp, registry and civil aviation, spoke extensively about how cities in UP will be well connected with air service. Starting helicopter service to six pilgrimage sites in the state was also in the pipeline. He talked about his plans in an interview with HT
How are you planning for small distance flights at cheaper rates in UP?
In order to make air service available to even medium and low income group people, we have planned to launch small distance flights from Allahabad. The one hour flight will cost just Rs 2500. There will be viability loss but 80% of it will be covered by the Centre and 20% by the state. We are also inviting private airlines to launch their service in UP. Once the number of passengers increases, the loss will automatically be covered.
When will Allahabad airport become fully operational with more number of flights?
The target is to make it fully operational by October 2018 before Ardh Kumbh. It would be well connected with Delhi and other parts of the country. We have recently sanctioned Rs 35 crore for acquiring land etc for the airport. I have also asked the district magistrate of Allahabad to inform in case more funds are required for the purpose.
Are there any plans for construction of airport in other cities of UP?
Bareilly and Kushinagar will also be having airports. In Bareilly, we have also acquired land for it.
Is it true that major pilgrimage sites in UP will be connected with helicopter service?
In the initial phase, six pilgrimage sites will be connected with helicopter service. These sites include Vindhyachal, Chitrakoot and Naimisharanya. Helipads are being constructed at these places. In the second phase, other places of religious significance will be covered.
How do you propose to make stamp and registry department work as per the ‘Digital India’ initiative of PM Narendra Modi?
We have already started working to further strengthen the e-stamping facility in which online payment for non judicial stamps could be made within a few minutes. Further, swipe machines would be installed for making cashless payment for registry. Now, the newly-wed couples can also get their marriage certificates online. They just have to submit their Aadhaar number in the online form. In this way, fewer people would come to departments for getting their certificates. This would, in turn, hopefully bring down the corruption graph. Further, these departments will be made people-friendly with water and seating facilities.