Air connectivity again to Belgaum in three months

Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Chief Minister  B S Yeddyurappa after launching QuEST Global SEZ at  Hattargi from Hukkeri taluk about 25 kilometres from  Belgaum on Saturday. QuEST founders Aravind Melligeri  and Ajit Prabhu are seen. DH photo

Speaking after unveiling the QuEST Global Economic Zone-SEZ at Hattargi in Hukkeri taluk, 30 km from Belgaum here, the minister said 300 acres of land had been sought for upgrading the existing airport. "Unfortunately complaints of air services being withdrawn are being made here. We will soon have air services reconnected. The aviation sector has grown from being a sleepy sector. The time has come for India's aerospace sector to take off. Had it not been for the boom in the aviation sector, the world would not have taken note of the growth of India's aviation industry," Patel said.

Reiterating the commitment of the ministry of civil aviation to growth of airports in other Cities, including those in Karnataka which is a leading State in the aviation sector, Patel added that to facilitate growth of the industry and provide a stimulus the Mysore airport has been completed, while the upgradation of the airport at Mangalore will be completed soon. "The SEZ at Belgaum will transform the North Karnataka region into a developed area" Patel added.

In his address, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the State government will create land banks on four identified industrial corridors on an area of 50,000 sq ft, as per the new 2009-14 industrial policy of the State. "We have already invested Rs 9000 crore for establishment of land banks. The new SEZ at Belgaum will create more than 7000 jobs locally", said Yeddyurappa.

Equity to be infused into Air India

Speaking to reporters later, Patel said the Centre is looking at equity infusion of about Rs 800 crore to Air India, in the next two months. “As we have said, we will be monitoring monthly progress, milestones will be set, cost cutting, revenue announcement etc. Based on this, we will be looking at further equity support,” he said.

On the issue of pilots strike, the minister further said, “It is in everybody’s interest to support a turn around plan. A talk of a strike does not serve anybody’s purpose.”

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