Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India,organized a two days Conference for Ministers of Civil Aviation for all states and Union Territories at Vigyan Bhawan w.e.f 17th Oct 2022 to 18th Oct 2022. The State of Sikkim was represented by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shri M.L Srivastava along with his team of officers including a Nodal Officer for Airport Security, Shri Praveen Gurung (DIG Range) from Police Department.
Of the two days National Level Conference, the first day i.e.17th of October was a Technical Session chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri Rajeev Bansal, and saw the presence of Chairman -Airport Authority of India, Shri Sanjeev Kumar, Director General of DGCA- Shri Arun Kumar, Additional Secretary, MoCA, Smt Usha Padhee, along with the heads of Civil Aviation Department of all states and Union Territories. While, the culminating day of 18th October was Chaired by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Civil Aviation & Steel Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, as a Chief Guest along with Hon’ble Union Minister of state, Ministry of Civil Aviation & Road Transport and Highways – General (Dr) V.K Singh which saw the participation of Civil Aviation Ministers of various states of the country.
The high level conference focused on improvement and strengthening of the National Civil Aviation Sector in view of the fact that the country is likely to experience a strong demand for air travel from the Civil Aviation Market and the rest of the world. The Hon’ble Union Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Jyotiraditya Scidia, in his address laid special emphasis on enhancement of air connectivity to the remote and hilly areas including that of North East to ensure the Government Policy of the Last Mile Connectivity. He also laid emphasis on the improvement of helicopter services and connectivity especially on HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) and in the areas where construction of airports was not feasible. He further urged the states to explore all possibilities of augmenting their air transport services on the lines of Air Cargo Operations and MROs as they hold tremendous demand in the international civil aviation market. The conference also drew special attention of the states for embracing and absorbing the Drone Technology as this was going to be a technology of the near future. Stating that the Drone Technology has already made a headway in certain sectors like land use mapping, agriculture and construction, it is bound to penetrate all other sectors for day to day usage. The meeting also discussed and provided directions to the various states on the matters of RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) UDAN, Krishi UDAN Scheme 2.0, Heli Sewa, Civil Aviation Security, establishment of FTOs, and convergence with DoNER Ministry.
On interaction with the states, the state representative -the Additional Chief Secretary, Shri M.L Srivastava, flagged all crucial issues pertaining to Pakyong Green field airport to the Ministry, the most urgent being the long pending demand for installation of Instrument Landing System. He elaborated the house on the weather condition of the state due to which, the air travel in the state gets disrupted for almost five to six months in a year largely affecting the flow of tourists in the state. He urged the Government of India for making necessary technical interventions to facilitate landing even in low relative visibility inorder to minimize flight cancellations. He also requested not just for continuation but also for enhancement of flight operations by the airlines to Pakyong Airport through the Winter Schedule i.e from the month of October to March 2023, as whether remains mostly favourable for flight operations during his period. In conclusion he also proposed for development of one heliport in each district keeping in line with the National Civil Aviation Policy.
The Ministry recorded the submission of various states and assured necessary support to each state’s concerns seeking mutual cooperation and support on the part of the states too.