Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar and Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu on Monday laid the foundation stone for the construction of a civil enclave at Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Darbhanga, paving the way for the launch of commercial flights for Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru under the regional connectivity scheme, UDAN-II.
Under the scheme, Darbhanga airport will be developed with the upgrade of necessary infrastructure for commercial flights likely to be launched in June next year, at an approximate cost of Rs 92 crore. AAI would operate and manage the flight operations.
SpiceJet has already won bid to operate flight from Darbhanga airport, the first in Bihar under UDAN scheme launched by Narendra Modi government with an objective to expand civil aviation network across the country.
The development work includes strengthening of the existing 9000-foot-long runway, setting up of no-frill, pre-fabricated interim terminal building, taxiway, six check-in counters to handle 200 peak hour passengers and parking facility for 30 cars.
Addressing the foundation laying ceremony, the union civil aviation minister expected a promising start of flight service from Darbhanga in Mithila, which he described as a great cultural centre. “The commencement of civil aviation facility will usher progress by opening new avenues for the development of Mithila. We will work together with Bihar government to expand the aviation sector in other parts of state in the coming days, be it Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Raxaul and Jogbani,” he said.
Prabhu said that Darbhanga was once known for its Maharaja who had aeroplanes, but the first thing Prime Minister Narendra Modi did after taking oath was to provide civil aviation facility for ordinary people, who will now take the benefits of flight service. “In a democracy, people are real king,” he said.
Darbhanga is known for fish, mango and makhana and the new agriculture export policy approved by Union cabinet is going to bring drastic change by providing institutional mechanism for pursuing market access and tackling barriers in farming sector across the country, the minister said. The minister also spelled out next measure to set up nodes in Bihar for direct export of agricultural produce under the policy.
Speaking on the occasion, Nitish Kumar thanked the Centre for the huge progress in civil aviation under UDAN and connecting Darbhanga airport under the scheme. He urged the civil aviation minister to decide within a fortnight and announce the date of launch of flight service in June “as the deadline for completion of civil enclave had been given as May 31, 2018”.
The CM also instantly granted approval to a suggestion by junior civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha for naming the Darbhanga airport after legendary Maithili poet Mahakavi Vidhyapati.
He further said that the state government had already acquired and transferred 108 acres of land for development of Bihta airport and urged that work on construction of building should begin by February. The CM said that an elevator corridor would be constructed between Bihta and Patna, which will reduce the travel time between two destinations to merely 15-20 minutes.
The CM said Purnia was also in the pipeline for start of civil aviation facility. “The airport is under the possession of IAF and they have sought two years of time to expand and strengthen the runway there. We are ready to provide land and other assistance in this regard to cater to the need of people,” he said.
The CM also asked for increasing air connectivity from Gaya, which will cater to the larger number of flyers from surrounding districts and also from Jharkhand area.
Bihar on aviation map
Commercial flights for Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to be launched from June 2019
SpiceJet has already won bid to operate flights from Darbhanga airport, the first in Bihar under UDAN scheme
CM gave instant nod to a suggestion by junior civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha for naming the Darbhanga airport after legendary Maithili poet Mahakavi Vidhyapati
Next in line is Bihta, where 108 acres of land has been acquired for an airport, construction to begin by Feb 2019
An elevator corridor planned to cut Bihta-Patna travel time to merely 15-20 minutes
Via: Hindustan Times