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Reduction in VAT on ATF revived J&K’s civil aviation sector: LG

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Addresses the 4th Heli-India Summit, says Kashmir’s rail connectivity with rest of country from next year; various scenic destinations witnessing year-round tourist influx, have potential to boost heli-tourism market

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Monday said that decisions like reduction of VAT on ATF and abolishing the load penalty at Jammu airport has revived J&K’s civil aviation sector so much that Srinagar airport is setting a new record in terms of number of flights per day.

Sinha made these remarks while addressing the 4th edition of Heli-India Summit at SKICC here.

Organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India with the support of the Government of J&K, Pawan Hans Ltd. and FICCI, the summit on the theme “Helicopters for Last Mile Connectivity” brought together various stakeholders of the helicopter industry and provided a common platform to discuss the growth of the Helicopter industry, the issues, challenges, and solutions for the future, an official press release informed.

It said on the occasion, the LG commended the work of Union Civil Aviation Ministry, Pawan Hans Ltd. and FICCI for promoting heli-services as a means of public transport for both passengers and cargo to boost last mile connectivity.

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Civil Aviation Minister, termed the summit as a “historic moment for J&K”. A new beginning has been made in the expansion of helicopter services, he added.

“Progress and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir is the dream of the Prime Minister and to realize this dream, Civil Aviation is coming up with a Civil Enclave (Airport) at Jammu worth Rs 861 crore and expansion of the Terminal Building at Srinagar at a cost of Rs 1500 crore,” said the Union Minister.

Work has been started for implementing “Heli Policy” and use of helicopters in emergency medical services, he added.

Welcoming the stakeholders of the Civil aviation sector and Helicopter industry from across the country to Jammu and Kashmir, the LG observed that the Heli India Summit will play a significant role in promoting Heli-seva as last mile connectivity.

“Various scenic destinations in Jammu Kashmir witnessing year-round tourist influx, which has the potential to boost Heli-Tourism market in the UT. We are committed to facilitate and help in the growth of Heli operations. I invite Industry Captains to be partners in this transformational journey,” said the LG.

“Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has ensured Nav-Nirman of J&K UT with robust infrastructure, road-connectivity to all villages, housing, rural electrification and full utilization of natural and human resources to meet the demands of the modern society,” the LG observed.

Gati Shakti-National Master Plan is paving the way for coordinated implementation of infrastructure schemes like Bharatmala, Sagarmala and UDAN, he added.

Highlighting the reforms introduced by the Prime Minister, the LG said, “Country’s aviation sector has witnessed an unprecedented growth in passenger traffic and corresponding increase in number of flight routes, aircrafts and enhanced regional air connectivity to fulfill the aspirations of the common man by following the vision of Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik”.

In a short span of time, 65 airports, eight heliports and two water aerodromes were made operational in tier-2 and tier-3 cities under the guidance of the Prime Minister and soon India will cross over into the top 10 air freight markets in the near future, he added.

The LG reiterated the UT government’s commitment to improve connectivity, particularly in remote and far flung areas and providing affordable transportation to the people of the UT. Rs. One lakh crore is being spent on road and tunnel infrastructure, which are opening up new vistas of socio-economic growth of J&K, he added.

As per a PIB handout, Sinha further said that J&K has seen a new dawn of development after the abrogation of Article 370, with increased road connectivity, air connectivity and development of railways infrastructure with work on Rs one lakh crore worth projects underway in J&K.

In terms of railway connectivity, “Jammu and Kashmir will be connected to Kanyakumari by the next year,” Sinha informed.

Significant decisions like reduction of VAT on ATF from 26.5 percent to 1 percent and abolishing the load penalty at Jammu airport has revived J&K’s Civil aviation sector. Today, Srinagar airport is setting a new record in terms of number of flights per day. Within a year, from 20-25 daily flights, today 80 to 100 flights are operating at Srinagar airport every day, the LG said.

After the decision to abolish the load penalty at Jammu airport, the number of flights has increased, the citizens of Jammu division have got better and economical facilities to travel to Delhi and other parts of the country, and the business sector has also gained new dynamism, he further added.

“We have already laid down the road map to fulfill the aspirations of every section of society. A lot has been achieved in the last three years. Remarkable progress in Infrastructure and other sectors present a tremendous opportunity for J&K UT to realize its full potential,” the LG said.

The LG said, “Inclusive development provides UT of J&K considerable leverage in pursuing the objective of Aatma-Nirbhar J&K. Today we have a rapidly growing economy, expanding market for agriculture & allied sectors and widening industrial base to integrate J&K’s economy into the country’s mainstream.”

The broad objectives of the summit are to create a world-class helicopter manufacturing ecosystem in India; promote tourism in the Himalayan states by providing uninterrupted helicopter services to the tourist hotspots; encourage Helicopter-based emergency medical services (HEMS) and enhancing the role of Helicopters in supporting other industries.

Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, in his welcome address briefed on the steps taken by the Civil Aviation Ministry in providing air connectivity and heli services to un-served and potential regions. He also gave details of the day long technical sessions.

Remi Maillard, Chairman FCCI- Civil Aviation Committee and President & MD Air Bus India expressed his commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Government in India for the growth and progress of heli services in India.

Usha Padhee, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) presented the Vote of thanks. Various initiatives of the Ministry of Civil Aviation were also launched on the occasion.

Representatives from the entire spectrum of industries, various States/ UTs, government departments, defence services, experts, delegates, AAI, Pawan Hans, Team of MoCA and various stakeholders attended the Summit at SKICC.

Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary, Department of Civil Aviation, J&K; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary to the Government, Tourism Department and senior officials were present on the occasion.

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