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Keeping in view the connectivity of North East India, the Civil Aviation Ministry has sought bids for 6 underserved and 24 unserved airports and airstrips in the region under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (ude desh ka aam aaagrik). The ministry has also recognised an aerodrome location at Umrangso reservoir which is up for bidding. The aim is to not only boost tourism but also bring about a positive transformation in the economic situation in the area.
The idea behind the UDAN scheme is to connect underserved and unserved airports, in addition to making flying more affordable. The underserved airports and airstrips that are up for bidding include Passighat and Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh; Jorhat, Rupsi and Tezpur in Assam and Shillong in Meghalaya. There are 24 underserved aerodromes in the region spread across Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.
One of the incentives that shall be provided to the airlines include provision of minimum land if required free of cost and also provide multi-modal hinterland connectivity (rail, road, metro, waterways, etc) as required. The ministry intends to provide an additional VGF (Viability Gap Funding) of 25% to the airlines and operationalize 1,000 routes and 100 airports in the next five years. The AAI (airport authority of India) will focus on developing no frills airport in the future, connecting such airports would be prioritized for the award of VGF.
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