Bhuj: Air passengers from Kutch will soon get direct connectivity with Mumbai and Delhi with Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel promising two more flights to Mumbai and one to Delhi from Bhuj during his day-long visit to Rapar, some 150 km here on Sunday. Patel also said, “As for the air link to Dubai, people will have to wait at least for one year as granting a status of international airport to Bhuj involves customs and other agencies’’
He said that while the long-suspended Indian Airlines’s Bhuj-Mumbai air service, would be resumed by June this year, the second new air service will be provided by the private player KingFisher Airlines. He said his ministry was also planning a direct service from Bhuj to Delhi by October this year. When told that on a Mumbai-Dubai flight 60 per cent air passengers were from Kutch, Patel said he was for such regular flights but it would take some time as many agencies were involved in declaration of any airport as an international airport. When pressed for a time limit as a delegation of NRIs had specially come from Bhuj to Rapar to present their case, the minister said it would take another year to have at least stopover flights from Dubai.
Earlier, inaugurating a district level first ever meeting of his party workers, the Nationalist Congress Party leader said that his party had good foothold in the state and was emerging as a third force. Looking at Congress MLA from Rapar and former finance minister in the RJP, Babubhai Meghaji Shah who sat next to him and the only top Congress leader to attend the NCP meeting, Patel said that if the present Modi government was to be removed from the state, the Congress will have to take help from NCP.
He said he was shocked to know that there was no real development of the border district after the earthquake. ‘’I saw the dry and barren land from my helicoptor while flying from Bhuj to Rapar and knew from my long talk with Babubhai shah who accompanied me on the flight that there was no real development of the post-quake Kutch. The Rs 4,200 crore fund that had come from the centre had not been properly utilised. My first act on reaching Delhi would be to meet the prime minister and finance minister to tell a sad story of Kutch and seek the Centre’s intervention wherever the central scheme for quake-related rehabilitation was not implemented,’’he said.
The district level meet was organised by Babubhai Shah’s daughter Jagrituben Shah, who after her suspension from the Congress, had joined the NCP and was made its general secretary. When Babubhai was told by leader after leader in the conference to switch over to NCP, Shah clarified that he attended the NCP conference only to consider it as a platform to fight communalist of the BJP in the state.
Courtesy:Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India