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ATR aircraft meant for N-E diverted to Bengaluru: Arunachal CS

Itanagar/Bengaluru :Arunachal Pradesh has claimed that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had deprived the North Eastern state, in terms of development, by diverting a 72-seater ATR aircraft meant for the region to Bengaluru.

The ministry has recently procured five such aircraft for Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, out of which one was meant for the North East.

The ministry had reportedly diverted the aircraft to Bengaluru depriving the region, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi said here yesterday.

Negi raised the issue before the team of Rajya Sabha Assurance Committee led by its Chairman Hussain Dalwai, who
was in the state capital on a two-day visit beginning October 7.

The chairman, however, assured him to take up the issue with the concerned authorities.

“With coming up of several airports in the state, the introduction of the new ATR plane will boost the tourism industry besides improvement in the economy,” Negi said, adding that if the service could be introduced between Guwahati and Lilabari in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district, which is around 62 kilometers from Itanagar, the people of the state would largely be benefited.

“The state government has raised the issue in various forums,” Negi said and added that the ATR plane meant for the region presently being stationed at New Delhi.

At present, Alliance Air is running only one 42-seater ATR aircraft for North East that too between Kolkata, Guwahati and other NE states barring Arunachal Pradesh.

The life of the aircraft is going to expire on October 22 this year after 19 years of continuous service.

“If the old plane is replaced with the new 72-seater, there will be significant decrease in fares and tourism industry of the region will flourish,” Negi pointed out.

Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on several occasions had pleaded the Centre for introduction of air services in the state.