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Uttarakhand high court raps aviation ministry over Udan scheme delay

Udan is a central government scheme aiming at achieving better connectivity and providing affordable flights to people.

dehradun Updated: Sep 08, 2018 00:57 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand high court,Udan scheme,Aviation ministry
The Uttarakhand high court at Nainital. (HT Photo)

The Uttarakhand high court on Friday rapped the ministry of civil aviation asking why there’s delay in implementing Udan scheme in Uttarakhand. The ministry was asked to file an affidavit in this regard on September 24.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Pankaj Miglani, the bench of acting chief justice Rajiv Sharma and justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari said: “The Udan scheme was launched successfully in the northeast and Uttarakhand can’t be allowed to be discriminated against by the government of India. The strengthening of infrastructure in the entire country should be uniform.”

Udan is a central government scheme aiming at achieving better connectivity and providing affordable flights to people. The PIL filed about a fortnight ago demanded better air connectivity between Delhi, Dehradun, Pantnagar and adjoining areas.

During the hearing, director of Pantnagar airport SK Singh appraised the court that only four flights of Air India operate from the airport every week. No flights are available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Despite writing to four aviation operators -- Indigo, Spice Jet, Go and Jet airlines, no response was received on providing service. He also advised that flights in Delhi-Pantnagar-Dehradun- Delhi, Delhi-Pantnagar- Lucknow- Delhi, Lucknow-Pantnagar- Dehradun- Delhi and Delhi-Dehradun-Pantnagar- Lucknow sectors can be introduced. However, he has not received any positive response from any of the airlines.

The court directed to press Air India to provide flights on all days and asked principal secretary Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) on what can be done to improve the services.

While hearing the matter for the first time on August 28, the court had said: “Every citizen has the right to travel by air at reasonable rates. No reason has been assigned as to why Pantnagar airport has been taken out of the list of under-served airports.”

“The schemes were launched in 2016 and 2017 for improving regional air connectivity but till date, only four flights land and take-off from Pantnagar Airport. There is no flight, till date, between Pantnagar and Dehradun,” the director said.

“There are five defunct airports in Uttarakhand-Gauchar, Naini Saini, Haridwar, Uttarkashi and Chinyalisaud which are defunct. The government can improve better air service by reviving these airports,” Miglani said.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 00:57 IST