Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday announced that new airports will be developed in Darbhanga and Purnia, two northern districts of the state. He said the state government has “committed” land to the Centre for this purpose.
Kumar made the announcement at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Akhil Bharatiye Mithila Sangh at Talkatora Stadium, an event which was also attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. “New airports will be developed in Darbhanga and Purnia. We will make all efforts to develop the Mithila region and promote its language, arts, culture and rich history. The new Patna airport terminal will have Maithili (Madhubani) paintings on its roof,” Kumar said.
The announcement comes against the backdrop of the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS), also known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), launched earlier this year in order to enhance flight services to tier-2 and tier-3 cities. However, it is not clear whether the Darbhanga and Purnia airports fall under the UDAN scheme.
The scheme seeks to make flying more affordable for the masses with fares capped at Rs 2,500 per hour of flight. The first round of bidding for RCS routes took place in March, when five carriers were awarded 128 routes. Nearly 15 of these routes have commenced operations. Bidding for the second round of RCS is underway and the government has received as many as 141 initial proposals for operating flight and helicopter services on 502 routes.