Low cost regional flights to be introduced by March end to boost tourism in Uttarakhand
All tourist spots, including lesser-known destinations dotting Uttarakhand, will now be easily accessible to even budget tourists through the “easily affordable” Regional Connectivity Schemejaipur Updated: Jan 14, 2018 20:36 IST
All tourist spots, including lesser-known destinations dotting Uttarakhand, will now be easily accessible to even budget tourists through the “easily affordable” Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), additional chief secretary Om Prakash said.
“Under the scheme beginning by March end, even budget tourists will be able to fly to the tourist spots by paying cheap air fares. It will give a substantial boost to tourism in the state,” Prakash said, referring to the centrally funded ‘Udan’ (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), or the Regional Connectivity Scheme.
“Subsidised air fares will be in the range of ₹ 1,400 to ₹ 2,000 per person for fixed wing aircraft and ₹3,000 to ₹ 500 per person for helicopters, which will be run by private operators.”
The process of implementing the scheme relating to the low cost regional flights was expedited. “(In that connection), talks will again resume with the Centre next week,” he said, adding that an agreement was already signed between the Centre and the state regarding the scheme.
The process of expanding airports, air strips and helipads and getting security measures would not take much time, the official said.
“We are ready…once we get the Centre’s nod, those measures will be ready before March.”
According to civil aviation sources, Heritage Aviation and Deccan Airlines have already approached the government with offers to introduce low cost regional flights. Prakash, however, said he had no knowledge about it. “This is an issue between the Centre and airline operators. Some of them may have approached with proposals to introduce flights but we have no idea.”
Later, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told Hindustan Times that some airliners had approached with offers.
Prakash said affordable regional flights would not only boost tourism but also ensure a quick and hassle free air journey for tourists. “They will be spared the time consuming and tiresome journey by hill roads and also harassment by taxi operators who fleece customers.”
Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board joint director VS Chauhan listed yet another advantage of low cost flights operating in the state. “Such flights will also make the remote and lesser known destinations easily accessible to tourists, giving a much needed boost to tourism in those spots.”
Reaching the destinations would not be difficult for tourists as most of them are not far off from areas where landing facilities for aircraft or helicopters are available, he said.
“Pilgrim arrival to the Kedarnath has increased manifold in the past few years as it is equipped with landing facilities for aircraft as well as helicopters,” he said, citing an example. “Such facilities are being developed in all hill districts in Garhwal and Kumaon.”