The Union Government on Wednesday said that work on three airports in smaller cities of Tamil Nadu are underway by the Airport Authority of India while money has been sanctioned for five such airports. The three airports which are undergoing work are Salem (Sanctioned- Rs 35 crore, Expenditure incurred- Rs 15.97 crore), Neyveli (Sanctioned- Rs 30 crore, Expenditure incurred- Rs 11.81 crore), and Vellore (Sanctioned- Rs 44 crore Expenditure incurred- Rs 34.87 crore). While Ramnad and Tanjore has been sanctioned Rs 36.72 crore and Rs 50.59 crore, no money has been spent on those projects yet.

Union Minister of State Hardeeep Singh Puri made this revelation while replying to a starred question by DMK Rajya Sabha MP P Wilson. These airports in Salem, Neyveli, Vellore, Ramnad and Tanjore are coming up under the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) programme initiated by the Narendra Modi government to connect smaller regional cities in India’s civil aviation map. 

Wilson had asked five-part questions related to civil aviation matters in Tamil Nadu. He sought clarification on how many routes have started functioning already under the UDAN scheme and if more airports are coming up in smaller cities.

Puri said, “The implementing agency, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded 37 UDAN routes in Tamil Nadu till completion of three rounds of bidding. Out of these, 12 routes have been operationalized by the selected airline operators. The implementing agency, AAI, subsequently cancelled 19 RCS routes due to non-compliance with Selected Airline Operator Agreement (SAOA). Delay in operationalization of remaining awarded routes under RCS-UDAN is primarily attributed to non-readiness of civil airports, which involves availability of land, creating infrastructure etc.”