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Modi flags off Shimla-New Delhi flight under UDAN scheme

For the common man: Narendra Modi flags off the first UDAN flight from Shimla on Thursday. Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh are seen.

For the common man: Narendra Modi flags off the first UDAN flight from Shimla on Thursday. Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh are seen.   | Photo Credit: PTI/PIB

“I had raised the issue of replacing the Maharaja logo of Air India with that of the common man image of cartoonist Laxman during the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee government also”, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the lives of the middle class were being transformed, while inaugurating the first flight under the UDAN —Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik — scheme for regional connectivity.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the first UDAN flight on the Shimla-Delhi route and simultaneously flagged off flights on the Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors through a video conference from Shimla.

“I had always wanted the man in streets wearing hawai chappals (slippers) to do a hawai yatra (plane journey),” said the Prime Minister in his short address at Shimla’s Jubbarhatti airport.

The Shimla-Delhi flight is operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, which has deployed its 42-seater ATR plane on this sector. The fare for 24 seats onteh flight has been fixed at ₹2,036. However, the Shimla-Delhi flight can accommodate a maximum of 15 passengers, while the Delhi-Shimla flight can carry 35 passengers due to height and temperature factors, according to Air India.

Air India will receive a subsidy of ₹3,340 per passenger from the government for capping the fare. The government will collect 80% of the subsidy by charging a levy of up to ₹50 per ticket on flights deployed on the national route. The remaining 20% will come from respective State governments.

Mr. Modi said air travel under the UDAN scheme would cost less than even taxi fare on a per kilometre basis. Five airlines —SpiceJet, Alliance Air, TruJet, Air Deccan and Air Odisha Aviation — recently won bids to fly 128 routes connecting 70 airports under the regional connectivity scheme.

 

The Prime Minister said 30 new airports will start commercial operations in Tier II and Tier III city routes within a year. Otherwise, Mr. Modi said, there were just 70-75 operational airports so far in the country.

“I had raised the issue of replacing the Maharaja logo of Air India with that of the common man image of cartoonist (R.K.) Laxman during the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee government also,” he said, adding that flying was only meant for the "Raja-Maharaja and elite class".

The Prime Minister advised airlines to immediately start a “Sikh pilgrimage circuit” connecting these sites to Amritsar. “It would sell and I won’t charge the idea fee.”

The resumption of flights from Shimla airport, which has been unused for several years, would double the hill State’s tourism potential in the coming days, he said.

Cultural integration

Other tourist destinations of the northeast also lack good connectivity, Mr. Modi said, adding that providing air connectivity was also required for cultural integration of the region with the other parts of the country.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated the State’s first Hydro Engineering College in Bilaspur from Shimla airport only. He said the States of Himachal and Jammu-Kashmir have a great hydel potential in the country and can cater to a huge demand of power.

(With inputs from Kanwar Yogendra)

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 10:48:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-flags-off-shimla-new-delhi-flight-under-udan-scheme/article18248067.ece

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