NEW DELHI, April 28 � Citing prolonged monsoon season, the Civil Aviation Ministry has slashed plan outlay for development of the civil aviation sector in the North-east. All new projects proposed in the region are likely to suffer delays.
Following the disclosure, it was recommended to the Civil Aviation Ministry that development of airports in the North Eastern Region be given top priority since air connectivity plays a vital role in promotion of trade and tourism in the region.
There is an urgent need for having an integrated plan to expand aviation connectivity in the region by identifying places in a fixed time schedule, a department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee said in its reports tabled in the Parliament.
In a scathing observation, the Parliamentary Panel commented that air connectivity to major cities of North Eastern parts of the country still remain as a distant dream only.
The schedule operators in the country had to deploy their services to meet the requirements of Route Dispersal Guidelines. But they resort to what is described as �cherry picking� or �cream skimming�. In other words, the private airline operators deploy their services only on the profitable routes in the North Eastern States, depriving air connectivity to tier-II cities in the region.
The Government of India should come out with an innovative initiative to expand air connectivity in the NER by strengthening the airport infrastructure to develop tourism and trade of that region, it was suggested.
Promotion of helicopter services in the NER is another viable option before the government to include more cities from the region in the aviation map of the country, it was stated.
Most of the NE States had complained about poor services offered by Pawan Hans in the region. Two major accidents in Arunachal Pradesh led to suspension of services in the State.