Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, requesting him to include Bilaspur city from the state in the Centre's UDAN-5.0 scheme so that it will have regular flight services to connect with other places.
The CM said regular air service from Bilaspur is necessary as it is the second important city in Chhattisgarh, from where the high court functions.
"We have received information that the Union Aviation Ministry has not included Bilaspur in the UDAN-5.0 scheme. People of Bilaspur region are disappointed with this decision of the Union government," Baghel said in the letter.
The civil aviation ministry has launched the fifth stage of the Regional Connectivity Scheme - Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) - to further enhance the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country and achieve last mile connectivity.
Talking to reporters after the conclusion of Congress party workers' regional summit here, the chief minister confirmed that Bilaspur has not been included in the UDAN scheme.
"I would like to tell Arun Sao (president of Chhattisgarh BJP) that we had spent Rs 45 crore for constructing the airport and getting licences under the UDAN scheme. Arun Sao should sit on a 'dharna' as the UDAN scheme has stopped in his Lok Sabha constituency. How will he face the public now?" the CM said.
Sao represents Bilaspur in the Lok Sabha.
In the letter, the CM further said that in consultation with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the civil aviation ministry, the Chhattisgarh government had spent Rs 45 crore for ensuring arrangements for terminal building, runway expansion, arrangement of security equipment at the Bilaspur airport for commencement of air service.
Due to the state government's consistent efforts, Bilaspur was connected with air service to cities like Jabalpur, New Delhi, Prayagraj, Indore, etc. The number of passengers on all the flights arriving in and departing from Bilaspur was promising. However, the flight service to Indore was stopped later for unknown reasons, he added.
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