Mangalore, Aug 5: Urging to restart the direct flights to Kuwait from Mangalore, J R Lobo, MLA of Mangalore South constituency, along with R Roshan Baig, minister for information, infrastructure development and Haj, met Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director of Air India and G M Siddeshwar, union minister of state for civil aviation, separately in New Delhi on Tuesday August 5.

The direct flights between Mangalore to Kuwait have remained suspended since February this year.

It may be recalled that Lobo had brought the matter to the notice of the government in the previous Assembly session of Belgaum held during November/ December and the government had replied on the floor that the matter was connected to the government of India and the same will be brought to the notice of civil aviation ministry. However, no concrete action has been taken till date. Hence, Lobo along with Roshan Baig called on CMD of Air India and also the union minister for civil aviation separately at New Delhi today.

Lobo requested both the authorities to restart the suspended direct flights from Mangalore to Kuwait at the earliest. Both the CMD and also the minister promised to look into this seriously and assured that action would be initiated to redress the long-pending grievances of NRIs residing in Kuwait.

Besides, Lobo and Baig informed the minister on the need to extend Mangalore runway by another 285 metres. Lobo impressed upon the central minister that Mangalore is the second international airport of Karnataka whereas the neighbouring Kerala already has three international airports and now they are developing a fourth one at Kannur. If Mangalore runway is not extended, wide-bodied aircraft cannot land in Mangalore which will hinder cargo exports and may also lose the international status, Lobo said.

Next to Bangalore, Mangalore is the only airport in Karnataka which has all the potential to grow and become the major destination for industrial, educational and tourism growth. Roshan Baig also insisted that Mangalore should be given all attention and stated that Karnataka govt will give all support to the central government to develop Mangalore airport.

In response, the minister of state for civil aviation stated that this project requires an investment of more than Rs 1,100 crores. Hence it has to be developed on PPP model as it was done in Cochin. The union minister assured to take up this issue seriously. Roshan Baig suggested that if the civil aviation ministry came up with a proper plan, this could be proposed for the forthcoming Global Investor Meet.

Courtesy : Daijiworld