New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) Highway development and regional air connectivity have been the much-publicised projects of the Narendra Modi government but both were found wanting when top officials of the 15th Finance Commission had to travel this week from Varanasi to Lucknow.
Scheduled to go to Lucknow from Varanasi, Commission Chairman N.K. Singh and other members of the delegation this week decided to first come back to Delhi and then take flight to Lucknow the next morning after learning that the highway connecting the two key cities was poor.
Moreover, there was no flight connecting Varanasi with Lucknow despite the hype around Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN.
While Varanasi is considered the cultural capital of the country, Lucknow is the seat of power for India’s most populous state which is crucial politically.
Sources said that the Commission members were on a state visit to Varanasi to look around various central projects taken up there. Varanasi is parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he has twice represented the historical city in the Lok Sabha.
“Given the significance of the city and various projects being executed there, the Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) members had decided to see the works,” said the source.
“All the FFC members came back to Delhi from Varanasi and then flew to Lucknow to avoid poor road conditions. They could have flown from there to Lucknow but there was no flight connectivity,” the person quoted above said.
While more towns have come on the aviation map of the country following the launch of UDAN but there are still many to be connected. On many routes, airlines have withdrawn operations due to reasons ranging from heavy loss, unavailability of crew, inadequate capital to support flight and poor load.
Even the Delhi-Simla flight under UDAN, inaugurated by PM Modi, is incurring heavy losses.
“The flight is being operated by Alliance Air (an Air India subsidiary). Despite heavy losses they are continuing because its withdrawal would prompt people to raise questions on the overall UDAN scheme,” an official said.