100 small airports planned, says PM

100 small airports planned, says PM

100 small airports planned, says PM

More than 100 small airports will be developed across the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday, noting that cities are the engines of the country’s economic development.

“Initially, big cities were connected by air. Now the focus is on connecting smaller cities,” Singh said, after laying the foundation stone of the Kishangarh airport in Ajmer district, 120 km from here. The new airport, being built at a cost of around Rs 166 crore, is slated to be operational in three years.

“Air connectivity has now become necessary to ensure a country’s development. The lack of air connectivity may prove to be a hindrance,” Singh said, adding, “We have launched an ambitious project to develop small airports in small towns and cities.

“As per our plans, we will develop over 100 small airports in various parts of the country. Kishangarh airport is the first project under this plan,” the Prime Minister said. About 16 crore people in India travelled by air last year.

‘Metros a good solution’

 Later in Jaipur, Singh said the work on Jaipur Metro’s underground corridor, proposed from Chandpole to Badi Chaupar in Jaipur, will begin soon and is expected to cost around Rs 507 crore.

Noting that rapid urbanisation had led to a huge problem of transportation in Indian cities, he said that the Metro rail could prove to be a good solution in the given scenario.

“It has been estimated that by 2031, nearly 60 crore people will be living in the urban areas of the country... Rapid urbanisation will lead to several problems, including that of transportation,” the Prime Minister said. Advocating the promotion of renewable sources of energy, the PM said, “The energy demand in the country has gone up in the past decade and we are still dependent on costly imports.”

“Also, the use of coal, oil and gas adversely affect the environment. So, it is important that we promote renewable sources of energy like solar energy,” he said.