Union Minister for Civil aviation Hardeeep Singh Puri told Rajaya Sabha on Wednesday (February 3) that five airports in Tamil Nadu — Salem, Neyveli, Vellore, Ramnad and Tanjore — are being built under the ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) programme of the Modi government.
The Minister’s response came to a starred question by DMK Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson.
The Salem airport has got ₹ 35 crore of which Rs 15.97 core has been spent to build capacities by the Airport authority of India (AAI). Similar work was going on at Vellore, Neyveli and Tanjore, he added.
Puri said five airports have been identified under various rounds of bidding .under the regional connectivity scheme Udan and developed under the revival or development of the airport scheme.
Besides Salem airport, the ones at Neyveli, Vallore and Tanjore have been sanctioned ₹ 30 crore, ₹ 44 crore and ₹ 50.59 crore respectively.
Wilson sought clarification on how many routes have started functioning already under the Udan scheme and if more airports are coming up in smaller cities.
“The implementing agency, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded 37 Udan routes in Tamil Nadu till completion of three rounds of bidding. Out of these, 12 routes have been operationalised by the selected airline operators. The implementing agency, AAI, subsequently cancelled 19 RCS routes due to non-compliance with Selected Airline Operator Agreement (SAOA). Delay in operationalization of remaining awarded routes under RCS-UDAN is primarily attributed to non-readiness of civil airports, which involves availability of land, creating infrastructure etc,” said Puri.
There is no such proposal to set up a new airport for handling bulk cargo internationally at Chennai, the government said.
Officials have said airlines were interested to fly from Chennai to Salem, but not to Vellore because of competition from road transport. Neyveli is closer to Puducherry while Vellore is hardly four hours from Trichy airport.