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First direct flight between Imphal-Shillong flagged off under the Centre’s RCS-UDAN scheme

Connectivity is the focus

In a step that would boost internal connectivity between the northeastern states, the first direct flight between Imphal in Manipur and Shillong in  Meghalaya was flagged off on Wednesday under the Centre’s RCS-UDAN (Regional Connectivity Scheme — Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme.

"The operationalisation of this route fulfills the objectives of the Government of India to establish strong aerial connectivity in priority areas of NorthEast India," the civil aviation ministry in a statement said.

"Shillong is the second city to be connected with Imphal under the UDAN scheme. The airline M/s IndiGo was awarded the Imphal-Shillong route during the UDAN 4 bidding process," it said.

Also read: India looks at its northeast as gateway to south and southeast Asia

Ashish Nath, Professor, Department of Economics, Tripura University told India Narrative that boosting connectivity among the states in Northeast is crucial.

“Though the focus should also be intra-connectivity. Though a lot of work aimed at developing infrastructure to boost connectivity is underway, a lot more needs to be done, as the region borders several countries,” Nath said.

Under the scheme, launched in 2016, 361 air routes are operational at present. 

Meanwhile, over 1,819 km of roads in the northeastern states have been completed in the last two years.

Jitendra Singh, minister, Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) earlier highlighted that Pakyong Airport in Sikkim and Rupsi Airport in Assam have been completed.

The Assam government in its budget announced several infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,556 crore. These are aimed at improving road connectivity