Air services from Bilaspur from March 1, 2021

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Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri announced the commencement of air service from Bilaspur, effective from March 1, 2021. This has brought cheers on the faces of people of the region as their long-pending demand is going to be fulfilled.

Puri made this announcement while addressing media persons at BJP’s state headquarters Kushabhau Thakre Parisar in Raipur. Puri said from next month air services from Bilaspur will commence and to start with the flight route connecting Bilaspur with the national capital will be New Delhi-Prayagraj (Allahabad)-Bhopal-Jabalpur-Bilaspur through Alliance Air.

Efforts are also being made so that direct flight connecting Bilaspur with the national capital can be initiated as well, he said, adding he came to know that people in Bilaspur were carrying out agitation for this air-connectivity. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already assured the people of Bilaspur for the air services which are going to be fulfilled.

Puri said under the UDAN initiative, already 57 airports have been upgraded and over 700 routes have been planned, of which air-service has already commenced in 311 routes. He said the Udan initiative was commenced in 2017 with a budget of Rs 4500 crore. He said already 56 airports have been upgraded and his Ministry has set a target of upgrading 100 airports and starting air-service on at least 1000 routes.

Puri while praising former Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh and the erstwhile BJP government in Chhattisgarh for its development initiative, said the development works like enhanced rail connectivity or air connectivity, etc is being possible today only because the previous BJP government had laid a firm base for the same. Had it been not so, the centre would have to start from scratch which would have taken time.

Puri said in the Union Budget for financial year 2021-22 an allocation of Rs 3650 crore, which is 1074% more than the average allocation in-between 2009-14 and 631% more than average allocation in-between 2014-19, which is a major jump in this sector. He said in the Urban Affairs sector, during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress led UPA government, the total allocations in the urban sector was Rs 1.55 crore in 10 years whereas, the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi had spent Rs 11 lakh crore which is six times more in six years. 

Briefing about the allocation of budget 2021-22, Puri said after the budget was presented, the stock market witnessed a considerable boost. The budget also got accolades from intellectuals and independent commentators across the country. Even the IMF and the Economic Survey predicted over 11 percent growth.

To a query about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that the budget reflects Centre’s intention to privatise PSUs, the Union Minister blamed Congress for weakening the economic condition of Air India. He said though he generally doesn’t react to the former AICC President’s comments or tweets because after a point of time he realizes that he has made an erroneous comment. So far as the point being instigated by him is about privatization of Air India, which is our national asset, its economic condition was worsened during the Congress-led UPA government.

At present, Air India has an accumulated debt of Rs 60,000 crore and the process of its privatization is underway since long but it will be the NDA government which is going to properly materialize it, said Puri. He assured that the process will be carried out transparently through open bidding. Praising the Congress government for privatizing New Delhi and Mumbai airport in 2006, due to the said privatization process, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) received Rs 29,000 crore, which was used in development of other airports, he said while adding that privatization is required as it is not the government’s specialization to run airports. Although there are several airports which are being successfully run but when private capital enters, the activities increase manifold, he added.

Over farmers’ protest against the new farm laws, Puri accused the opposition of misleading the farmers over the laws and said his government is ready to sit with them (farmers) to resolve the issue. He also expressed confidence that the issue will be resolved soon.

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