Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday virtually inaugurated a 72-seat regular flight linking Jagdalpur in Bastar region with Raipur and Hyderabad, which will greatly shorten the time taken by road journey.
Ministers, MPs and others attended the event via video conferencing while the Chief Minister did the inauguration from his residence in Raipur as the first flight landed from Hyderabad at the Jagdalpur-based Maa Dantewashwari Airport.
Baghel said in his address that the air service will unleash major opportunities for the development of Bastar division.
Alliance Air Bastar, an associate company of Air India, started the services on Monday.
The Chief Minister said that it would take only one hour to fly from Bastar to Raipur and Hyderabad, from where one can travel to anywhere in the world. Presently, it takes six hours to reach from Bastar to Raipur by road and nearly 12 hours to reach Hyderabad.
The air service will promote tourism and play a key role in medical emergencies, he said. It will also help in the development of banking and telecom sectors in the Bastar region.
An Amcho Bastar Canteen was also opened at the airport terminal, which will be run by families affected by Maoist violence.
The Jagdalpur airport has been developed over an area measuring 57.6 hectares. The air strip is 1,704 metres long and 30 metres wide.
Passenger flights will take off from Hyderabad at 9 am and reach Raipur at 12 noon via Jagdalpur. On return, the flight will take off from Raipur at 12.30 pm and reach Jagdalpur by 1.35 pm before landing in Hyderabad at around 3.40 pm.
These flights will be operated daily. The fare for Hyderabad to Jagdalpur is Rs 1,405 and Rs 1,270 for Jagdalpur to Raipur.
The foundation for the Jagdalpur airport was laid in 1939 during British rule.