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Gujarat signs up for regional connectivity scheme, to overhaul 11 airports

September 01, 2016

After Maharashtra, Gujarat has now signed up for the Centre's regional connectivity scheme (RCS) that looks at improving unserved and underserved airports and runways in smaller towns. Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the state and central government at Gandhinagar on Thursday, around 11 airports and runways will be developed and made functional.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Hon’ble Union Minister of Civil Aviation Shri. Ashok Gajapathi Raju who said that a viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs 500 crore annually is being created for the scheme. Under the scheme, airports and runways included are situated at Surat, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Keshod, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhuj, Kandla, Disa and Mahesana districts of Gujarat.

"Under viability gap funding, we will provide about Rs 500 crore for three years. For the development of the airstrips, the union government will fund 80 per cent and state government will have to bear 20 per cent in the scheme," Shri. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

In July 2016, civil aviation ministry had announced National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, under which regional connectivity scheme has been executed by the union government for the development of civil aviation sector in Indian states.

"India is the fastest growing country in the world in aviation sector. Growth of civil aviation in the country is about 20 per cent. Still, several places are either unserved or underserved by air and our idea is to connect maximum places under the scheme," Shri. Raju said.

Announcing the MoU, Shri. Nitin Patel, Hon’ble deputy chief minister of Gujarat said: "Under the RCS, facilities will be given to make flights operational. Gujarat government will provide necessary support for the security and fire safety facility under the scheme. The state will provide land at token rates for airstrip development as per the requirements."

To further boost the operations, the state government has also decided to reduce value added tax (VAT) on aviation fuel from five per cent to one per cent for the scheme. "Moreover, the state will provide water, power and other utilities at reasonable rates," Shri. Patel added.

Source : Business Standard

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