INDIA. Mumbai: The Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of Sea Plane services in India on Tuesday.
The MoU was signed by Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Bhushan Kumar, Joint Secretary (Sagarmala Project) in presence of the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya and Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. The Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, the Shipping Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan, Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh, AAI Chairman Sanjeev Kumar and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
The MoU envisages the development of Non-Scheduled/Scheduled operation of seaplane services within the territorial jurisdiction of India under the Regional Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (RCS-UDAN) scheme of the Government of India. As per MoU, a Co-ordination Committee comprising officials of the Civil Aviation and Shipping Ministry will be set up for timely completion of the Seaplane services at various locations. These ministries and the Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL) will consider operationalizing Seaplane operating routes as identified/suggested by all agencies.
The shipping ministry, would identify and develop waterfront infrastructure of Aerodromes/ locations and obtain required statutory clearances /approvals in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and Airport Authority of India (AAI) by defining the timelines for all activities involved in the development of facilities for starting seaplanes operations.
The Civil Aviation Ministry would carry outbidding and select potential airline operators based on their commercial consideration through the bidding process, incorporate the locations/routes as identified by the Shipping Ministry, and routes identified through the bidding process in the UDAN scheme document. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation is also obliged to provide funds/financial support in respect of water aerodromes awarded under the RCS-UDAN scheme and coordinate with Chief Secretaries of all States for the Seaplanes operations.
On the occasion, the Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri stated that this MoU between the two Ministries will help expedite the development of new water aerodromes and also operationalization of new seaplane routes in India. He further stated that this will give a big fillip to the provision of a new kind of tourism service in India.
The Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya stated that signing of this MoU will be a game-changer both for Indian Maritime and Civil Aviation sector as it will not only enhance seamless connectivity across the nation by promoting eco-friendly transportation through Seaplanes but also give a boost to the tourism industry.
India’s first seaplane service was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2020, which offers connectivity from the world’s tallest statue, a 182-meter statue of India’s first deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia colony to Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
The water aerodromes planned include: 1. Hutbay Andaman & Nicobar, 2. Long Island Andaman & Nicobar, 3. Neil Island Andaman & Nicobar, 4. Havelock Andaman & Nicobar, 5.Prakasam Barrage, Andhra Pradesh, 6.Umrangso Reservoir, Assam, 7. Guwahati River Front, Assam, 8. Statue of Unity, Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat, 9. Dharoj Dam, Gujarat, 10. Shatrunjay Dam, Gujarat, 11. Minicoy, Lakshadweep Islands, 12. Kavaratti, Lakshadweep Islands, 13. Erai Dam, Chandrapur, Maharashtra, 14. Khindsi Dam, Nagpur, Maharashtra and 15. Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand.