Airline based in NE can solve connectivity problem: Ex-envoy

SHILLONG: Gautam Mukhopadhaya, former ambassador of India to Myanmar, on Thursday stressed on the need for an airline based in the North East to improve air connectivity in the region.
Speaking at an interactive session on ‘North Eastern India: A people centric agenda for development’ organized by Asian Confluence in the city, Mukhopadhyay said instead of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme, a northeastern airline “makes sense”.
He pointed out that there may be misgivings about a northeastern airline given the fact that a similar plan failed in the past. “But this does not mean that this time too it will fail,” he added.
In 2006, North East Shuttles was founded to operate flights in the North East, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Operations began in 2011 but could not be sustained.
Talking about overall development in the region, Mukhopadhyay harped on the need for customised schemes for the region. He said states in the region do not have to follow schemes modelled by the Centre as these may not be feasible for the region. “Instead, the northeastern states can design their own schemes and pitch for them in Delhi,” he added.
He also batted for leveraging the primary sector for better economic growth in the region.

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