UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) under its phase-II of the government’s flagship scheme is going to introduce the routes which are going to be served by helicopters apart from fixed-wing aircraft.Almost Around 40 per cent, or 129, of the 325 air routes awarded under the second phase of the regional connectivity scheme (UDAN) are focused on Northeastern and hill states of the country.
Facts and Information.
- Includes strategic airports such as Kargil in Jammu & Kashmir, Pakyong in Sikkim, and Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh, where civilian air connectivity is going to be provided for the first time.
- Seeing Poor response from fixed-wing operators in the first phase of the scheme in difficult terrains, the government tweaked the guidelines of the project to allow helicopters to fly in to these regions. In this round, four helicopter operators — Heligo Charters, Heritage Aviation, Pawan Hans, and Skyone Airways are going to ferry passengers .
- Routes will also be served by helicopters apart from fixed-wing aircraft.
- After the bidding process for second round of “Regional Connectivity Scheme“ (RCS) Viability gap funding or subsidy for 50 per cent of the seats is being offered at discounted rates by airlines.
- Around 80 airports in the country are added under UDAN-I and II scheme .
- Problem of (poor air connectivity) to difficult areas is also addressed under the scheme.
- Funds are going to be gathered from the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) in regards to the regional connectivity fund.
About UDAN Scheme.
Aimed at making air travel affordable and widespread Government of India had he objective of “Let the common citizen of the country fly” formed into – UDAN-RCS, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is a regional airport development and “Regional Connectivity Scheme” (RCS) of, which is aimed to bring inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states of India.
The scheme has two components.
- The First component aims in developing new and enhancing the existing regional airports to increase the number of operational airports for the scheduled civilian flights.
- The Second component is planned such as it will add several hundred financially feasible airfare routes to connect more than 100 underserved and unserved airports in smaller towns with each other as well as with well served airports in bigger cities by using “Viability Gap Funding” (VGF) where needed.
Viability Gap Funding –
Designed as a Plan Scheme , Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
- The scheme is to be administered by the Ministry of Finance
Cabinet for Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has inked MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for construction of the 14.150 km long, 2-lane bi-directional Zojila Pass Tunnel on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway.
Located in Jammu and Kashmir this would be Asia’s longest bi-directional Zojila Pass tunnel and India’s Longest road tunnel as of now. It will take seven years for the completion of the project and once ready the tunnel will reduce the travel time of crossing Zojila Pass from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes.
Zojila Tunnel Project – Key Points.
- Objective is to provide weather connectivity to strategically important Leh region in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir state which is limited to 6 months in year considering the problems of snow and avalanches cutting off.
- First of its kind in such a geographical area the tunnel is set to have all modern technical safety arrangements Including cut and cross ventilation system, two axial fans, uninterrupted power supply, fully transverse ventilation system, CCTV monitoring, variable messaging boards, traffic logging equipment, tunnel radio, emergency telephone system etc.
- The Tunnel holds strategic and socio-economic importance and will play an important role in development of the economically backward districts in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The project comes under the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRT&H) through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
- Other ongoing projects includes 6.5 km long Z-Morh tunnel at Gagangir which would ensure safe, fast and cheap connectivity between the two regions of Kashmir and Ladakh and it will focus on boosting employment due to access to National market and tourism.