The civil aviation ministry said bids have been sought for six underserved and 24 unserved airports and airstrips in the North East region under the latest round of regional air connectivity scheme. A water aerodrome in the region at Umrangso Reservoir, Assam is also included. The fourth round of bidding under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) or regional air connectivity scheme commenced on December 3. UDAN seeks to connect unserved and underserved airports as well as make flying more affordable.
- With focus on connectivity of North eastern region, UDAN 4.0 scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited bids for six underserved and 24 unserved airports/airstrips in the North East states of India.
- The underserved airports and airstrips in the list are at Passighat and Tezu (Arunachal Pradesh), Jorhat, Rupsi and Tezpur (Assam), and Shillong (Meghalaya).
- As per the release, there are 24 underserved aerodromes in the region spread across Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.
- These are Alinya, Along, Daparizo, Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Yinghiong and Ziro (Arunachal Pradesh) while Chabua, Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo, Misa Mari, Nazira, Sadiya, Sorbhog, Sukerating (Dum Duma) are in Assam. Others are Dwara, Shella and Tura in Meghalaya, and Kailashahar, Kamalpur and Khowai (Tripura).
- The ministry aims to operationalise 1,000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years, as per the release.
- The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the Prime Narendra Modi's National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 15 June 2016.
- The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments, several states have come on board by signing the "Memorandum of Understanding" with the union government for this scheme.
- UDAN RCS will connect an unspecified number of new regional routes, by operationalising 100 regional airports by the end of 2018-2019 financial year, with a target of 13 lakh (1.3 million) annual passenger seats, requiring annual INR200 crore Viability Gap Funding (VGF).