No destination in Odisha is among the list of destinations under seaplane operation across the country envisaged by the Centre.
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is initiating the process of commencing operations of the service on select routes under a special purpose vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators.
But no destination is Odisha is in the list it has a lot of scope for such facilities.
Tourism experts had planned for three routes in Odisha, which have commercial as well as tourism importance – Bhubaneswar to Puri via Chilika Lake, Bhubaneswar to Chandipur via Bhitarkanika National Park and Bhubaneswar to Hirakud Dam in Sambalpur.
However, these sectors are not listed in the proposed Origin-Destination pairs under Hub and Spoke model.
Various islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati Riverfront & Umranso Reservoir in Assam, Yamuna Riverfront/Delhi (as Hub) to Ayodhaya, Tehri, Srinagar(Uttrakhand), Chandigarh and many other tourist places of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh Similarly Mumbai (as Hub) to Shirdi, Lonavala, Ganpatipule; Surat (as Hub) to Dwarka, Mandvi & Kandla; Khindsi Dam, Nagpur & Erai Dam, Chandrapur (in Maharashtra) are listed for seaplane operations.
The project execution and implementation would be through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the Ministry.
One such seaplane service is already in operation between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31 last year. To run more such services in the coastal areas or proximity to water bodies, SDCL is keen to associate with the interested scheduled / non-scheduled airline operators.
The joint development and operation of ‘Sagarmala Seaplane Services (SSPS)’ will be undertaken by forming a SPV with Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL).
To provide connectivity and easier accessibility to remote locations, SDCL is exploring plans to leverage the potential of the vast coastline and numerous water bodies/rivers across India by commencing seaplane operations.
The seaplane will utilize the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in a much economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations.
The seaplanes services will be a game-changer providing a supplementary means of faster and comfortable transportation across the nation.
Apart from providing air connectivity to various remote religious/tourist places, it will boost tourism for domestic and international holidaymakers.
It will save travel time and stimulate localized short distance travelling especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes etc.
In addition to the infrastructural enhancements at the places of operations, it will enormously boost tourism and business activities.
Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated that initiation of seaplane operations align with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve connectivity across the nation and make India as an attractive destination for the tourists.
By providing air connectivity to numerous remote, religious/tourist places and unexplored locations near the water bodies will make the journey easier.
It will generate employment opportunities and stimulate tourism on these new locations, which will consequently contribute to the country’s GDP in the long run.