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Opposition seeks to punch holes in UDAN scheme

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Opposition seeks to punch holes in UDAN scheme

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The opposition on Tuesday sought to punch holes in the government's regional connectivity scheme UDAN claiming that less than 50 percent routes awarded under the marquee initiative were operational and only a fraction were functioning without subsidy.

Opposition seeks to punch holes in UDAN scheme
The opposition on Tuesday sought to punch holes in the government's regional connectivity scheme UDAN claiming that less than 50 percent routes awarded under the marquee initiative were operational and only a fraction were functioning without subsidy.
Initiating a discussion in Lok Sabha on the demand for grants of the civil aviation ministry, Congress member Ravneet Singh Bittu said only 405 routes out of the 948 awarded by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) since October 2016 were operational as on December 2021.
Bittu also voiced concern over the budgetary cuts for Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB). "In the wake of the recent air crash in China, I would urge the minister to seek greater allocations for the three divisions at the revised estimate stage," said Bittu, a Lok Sabha member from Ludhiana.
He also sought greater allocation for the regional connectivity scheme. Trinamool member Mahua Moitra also questioned the lower allocation for the UDAN scheme.
DMK member S R Parthiban wondered how the UDAN scheme would succeed when private airline operators were looking for profitable routes. Bittu also flagged concerns about double night shifts for pilots, claiming that it resulted in fatigue and could have serious consequences. He accused the civil aviation regulator DGCA of being "hand-in-glove" with airline companies, contending that little attention was being paid to the welfare of pilots.
"A pilot cannot form unions...he has to give a six-month notice before he can quit his job, but the airline can sack a pilot at a day's notice," Bittu said. BJP member Mahesh Sharma criticised the previous Congress governments for taking over Air India from Tata Sons in 1953 and later pushing the airline into heavy debts by ordering 111 aircraft.
He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the initiative for the sale of Air India. "Our prime minister believes that there is no business for the government to be in business," Sharma said, adding that Air India has now rightfully gone back to Tata Sons.
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