Bidar: After over seven decades of its construction, the Bidar airport may be opened up civilian flights, courtesy the ambition Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme of the union civil aviation ministry.
Yesterday, A team of Aviation Development Cell (ADC) along with MP Bhagwant Khuba, Deputy Commissioner H R Mahadev and others inspected the civilian airport terminal constructed near AirForce Station on Chidri Road in Bidar. ADC Officer A N Vishwanath,Yatish AN, Sumeet Gautam and GMR Deputy Chief Officer Subhash M, Sanjay Kappuraju,Buddhadeb Shom and Manish Agnihotri inspected the civilian terminal facility and quality standards maintained in the works.
During the deliberations, Air Force Station officials were also present.
Central Government in April this year is aiming to bring tier II and III cities under air service connectivity under ambitious Udan Scheme. Thus, it had brought several airports, including Bidar civilian terminal under the category . During the interaction officials have been asked to complete the pending works to start the air service soon. MP Khuba has stated that it was a long pending demand of the people of this region to start air service.
Bidar Airport has a Little bit of History & “geography”
Bidar airport is unique. It is not a ‘ghost’ airport, meaning it is not among the 200 facilities created under the 15 year UPA regime, most of whom have been rendered empty after airlines did not operate owing to low demand.
It was established by British forces before the second World War. It was used as a refueling centre and transit station for carrier planes. After independence, the Indian Air Force began a primary pilot training centre in Bidar that was later upgraded to the Hawk fighter plane training centre.
It has world class technical facilities, including three kilometre long air strip and state of the art signaling systems. The ‘Plus’ shaped air strip helps airplanes take off from opposing directions, to cheat strong winds in one direction.
The demand for using Bidar for civil aviation is long pending. The state government made its biggest push before Gur Ta Gaddi in 2007, the 300th anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib being declared the eternal Guru of the Sikh faith. Lakhs of devotees were expected to visit Bidar and Nanded in Maharashtra that year. The state built a separate gate for passengers, huge waiting lounges, office spaces, and facilities for security and Airport Authority of India personnel spending around Rs 3.5crore.
However, GMR, the company that built the international airport in Hyderabad objected to civil aviation from Bidar, citing the `no two airports in 150 kilometre radius’’ rule of the AAI. It also declined the government’s request to operate flights from Bidar or use the facility for overhaul and maintenance services.
Flying planes between Bidar to Bengaluru and other important cities is expected to achieve two major objectives- to promote tourism in the Deccan, to ensure connectivity to the most backward areas – Hyderabad Karnataka, Telangana and Marathwada in Maharashtra. Connectivity is also expected to achieve the often overlooked goal of ensuring better governance of Bidar, as it will help more ministers and senior officials to visit the backward district for supervision.