The state government is likely to urge the Centre to include five new destinations in project Udan to promote regional air connectivity. The emphasis would be on Vidarbha and Konkan region.
A day earlier, the Centre had given its nod to regional air connectivity projects in tier-II cities in Marathwada, north Maharashtra and western Maharashtra.
The Centre’s decision to sanction RAC to Nanded, Jalgaon. Kolhapur, Solapur and Nashik has paved the way for creating new developmental modules beyond the golden triangle of Mumbai-Pune-Nashik.
The other five towns vying to make it to Udan are Amravati, Gondia, Shirdi, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg. The state government’s target is to bring Udan to at least 25 second tier towns with an objectivity of better connectivity and communication.
Highly placed sources in the government revealed: “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis plans to use the development for industrial and agriculture growth in the backward regions.”
Among the factors which often thwarted development of second tier cities/towns were distance and poor connectivity.
According to the report, all the five cities which have been shortlisted in Udan have the potential to emerge as agro-industrial hubs.
On August 23, 2016, Fadnavis had signed an MoU with Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju for regional air connectivity in ten districts across Maharashtra.
Officials said: “Maharashtra was the first state to sign the agreement for regional air connectivity for development of ten districts out of its 36 districts.”
While seeking viability gap funds from centre, state policy has provisions for giving concessions for infrastructure to meet the requirements of air traffic. Under the project, the Centre has promised concessions on aviation turbine fuel on Regional Connectivity Scheme routes to private airline operators. The ceiling on Rs 2500 for an hourlong flight, government believes, would not only promote passenger traffic but also work as an incentive for new entrepreneurs.
The concessions on land and VAT are other aspects being worked out by the state government.
The state’s regional plan for 11 districts and developmental plan for 193 cities will be projecting the Centre-state’s drive through regional connectivity.
Sources said: “Of the total 250 cities/towns and semi towns in the state, in almost 80 per cent, poor connectivity and distance were detrimental to growth. Through regional connectivity,the government wants to break that barrier.”
According to data provided by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Maharashtra has taken the lead in attracting the highest number of industrial proposals to commensurate with employment. Overall, data between 1991 and 2016 show Maharashtra has approved 19,437 industrial proposals with an investment worth Rs 11,37,783 crore.
The total number of projects commissioned were 8,664 (44.6 per cent) with an investment of Rs 2,69,814 crore (23.7 per cent). In terms of employment, 11.45 lakh jobs have been generated. Apart from these, 2,017 projects with a cumulative investment of Rs 87,701 crore and projected employment of 2.98 lakh are in the process of being implemented.
“Although the state appears to have fared better than others in both attracting investments and generating employment, its overall potential remains untapped,” said a senior official. Citing the example of Make In India, where Maharashtra got the highest investment proposals he said: “To achieve the target, we have to multiply our efforts.”
In 2015-16, in all 340 projects with an investment of Rs 30,580 crore and proposed employment of 0.3 lakh were approved.