Srinagar, Nov 04: In a significant move to enhance connectivity and tackle emergency situations across UT, the administration of Jammu and Kashmir UT has proposed the construction of airstrips in Kishtwar and Mantalai under the Ministry of Civil Aviation's UDAN scheme. These airstrips are intended to provide air connectivity to areas that become inaccessible during the winter months and to facilitate casualty evacuation.
The vision document, released by the Planning Development and Monitoring Department also outlines plans for the development of water aerodromes for sea plane operations on Wular Lake as part of the UDAN scheme.
Additionally, the document highlights the provision of helicopter services to important tourist destinations, such as Jammu to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, Jammu to Baderwah, Srinagar to Gurez, and Srinagar to Pahalgam.
Furthermore, there is a proposal for a Heli safari service from Srinagar to explore the great lakes trek of Sonamarg, which includes flying over high-altitude destinations like Thajwas, Marsar Lake, and Kolhai glacier to boost tourism in the region.
The document also mentions the construction of waiting lounges at newly constructed helipads in Bandipora and Kupwara. Over the next 8-10 years, there are plans to expand Heli services and Heli safari services to important tourist destinations within the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
The overarching vision is to establish, maintain, operate, and provide non-scheduled air services for the transportation of Jammu and Kashmir government officials, civilians, visiting dignitaries, and other civilians on an emergency basis.
In 1987, the Civil Aviation Wing was established within the Chief Minister's Secretariat.
Alongside this development, the position of Director-cum-Pilot for the Cheetah helicopter was established, and Wing Commander Jasminder Singh Kehlon was appointed to this role on a deputation basis. Additionally, in 1991, a hangar was constructed at Nehru Helipad, Raj Bhawan, Srinagar, to house the flying machine, and another hangar was built at Jammu Airport.
Following the abrogation of Article 370, in 2019 a separate Administrative Department known as the Civil Aviation Department was established by the GAD.
Currently, the Civil Aviation Department possesses one fixed-wing aircraft (Super King Air 350), one twin-engine helicopter (Agusta-109E), and one single-engine helicopter (Bell 407).
The primary objectives of the department include ensuring the safe, efficient, and coordinated provision of air services to government officials and visiting dignitaries.
Facilitating air connectivity to areas that become inaccessible during the winter months and conducting casualty evacuations.
Additionally, the department operates a Subsidized helicopter scheme in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
UDAN is a regional connectivity scheme spearheaded by the Government of India (GoI). The full form of UDAN is ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik’ and aims to develop smaller regional airports to allow common citizens easier access to aviation services.
So far, Ministry has approved 78 new routes under the 4th round of Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN. So far, 766 routes have been sanctioned under the UDAN scheme.