NEW DELHI: The government is giving wings to its Act East policy. As a precursor to building ties with its Asian neighbours, it has identified infrastructure development in the north-eastern states as a high priority focus area, and the tourism ministry, along with the civil aviation ministry, has identified under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), 16 new destinations there that will be connected by air in the coming months.
- The Centre has identified under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), 16 new destinations in the northeast that will be connected by air in the coming months
- Tourism secretary Rashmi Verma, said this scheme is expected to increase tourist inflow in the coming months
Speaking to TOI, tourism secretary Rashmi Verma, said, “Connectivity through air and roads has been a big concern in the north-east states, and this scheme will have far reaching consequences both for better connectivity in the north-eastern states and is expected to increase tourist inflow in the coming months…” In the first phase of the government’s UDAN scheme, which seeks to make air travel affordable, only one north-east cluster was identified under the RSC category.
Among a total of 27 routes identified in phase I, Deccan Air had bid successfully for connecting Imphal to Shillong, Silchar, Dimapur, Aizawl, Kolkata and Agartala.
In the second phase, though, the civil aviation ministry has identified nearly 16 new routes in the north east. The routes have been awarded to 15 airlines and helicopter operators after the bidding process for second round of RCS.
In the first round, while helicopter operators had not shown interest, four have been granted the rights to fly on select routes in the second phase.
These include, Pawan Hans being awarded helicopter services to parts of Imphal, Guwahati, while Zoom Air, Skyone and Spicejet have been awarded flights between Kolkata and parts of Arunachal.
Flights have also been awarded to operators in Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.
RCS fares of flights operating on these are capped at Rs 2,500 per hour of flight, and operators must offer at least 50% of the seats at discounted rates, while the quota is fixed at a minimum of 13 seats for the helicopter services.