Amazing work by Civil Aviation Ministry (GoI) and the Civil Aviation Ministry (Uttar Pradesh) during Covid-19 under the able leadership of Shri Hardeep Singh Puri (Minister for Civil Aviaation GoI) and Shri Nand Gopal Gupta “Nandi” (Minister for Civil Aviation, Govt of UP)
While the whole world was pondering over new year resolutions on December 31 last year, no one in their wildest thoughts would have imagined that the year 2020 will usher in a pandemic which will bring everything to a standstill. And why would we think so when most of us had never lived through a pandemic of this level in our lifetimes. However, India took the pandemic by its horns under the capable leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team, which includes every individual of this country. As a nation, we have proved to the world how 135 crore people can come together in the times of crisis like this. A phased lockdown was implemented with just one motive – to not lose a single life to the deadly virus..
Early screening of travellers entering the country from abroad and a phased and timely lockdown helped us to keep the numbers down. When the entire country was religiously following the lockdown guidelines and not crossing the ‘Laxman Rekha’ to break the chain of the Coronavirus, governmental departments like police and medics, and Corona warriors like delivery boys and milkmen ensured that everything was available at your doorsteps. To ensure that no one in the country goes to bed on an empty stomach, the government as well as NGOs and individuals became ‘Akshaypatras’ – so there was ample food for all.
A pandemic never comes alone. It’s a multi-faceted problem and economic slowdown is one of the facets. From a 20 lakh crore relief package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to the call for Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant india) given by the Prime Minister, we have developed a multi-faceted solution for the problems.
How a well-oiled machinery helped
Not one Indian anywhere around the world was abandoned by our government during this time of crisis. The Prime Minister set an early example by evacuating Indian students in February from the Hubei province of China -worst hit by the Coronavirus. Back home, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ensured the safe return of people of Uttar Pradesh who were stranded outside the state. Be it students in Kota, lndians abroad or labourers wanting to return home, the CM made sure a safe homecoming for them. Not only these workers were provided all help in coming back, the state government also saw to it that they did not have to leave for greener pastures again. Employment opportunities are being created in Uttar Pradesh itself as the CM wants to ensure that people of Uttar Pradesh are not called Pravasi or Migrants again.
Indians from Sharjah after landing in Lucknow
Role of Indian Aviation Ministry
India also led by example with Operation Vande Bharat – its efforts to bring back citizens stuck abroad. With all possible help extended by the state government, the UP aviation ministry made all necessary arrangements on airports for incoming flights. Strictly adhering to the central government guidelines, proper sanitization is being done at the airports apart from thermal screening of passengers and maintaining social distancing at all times. Dedicated hospitals and quarantine facilities have also been set up to house symptomatic passengers. UP aviation ministry is also working closely with, and providing all help to the health ministry. State owned planes have already made two trips – one to Goa and other to Bengaluru – to bring equipment required for corona sample testing.
Travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic crisis has brought to fore the need for proper connectivity and ease of travel. For the UP aviation ministry, this has been one of the agendas since 2017. Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the ministry has been achieving results for three years now.
Uttar Pradesh Civil Aviation Department
Before the Bhartiya Janta Party came at the helm of affairs in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, the state was connected with 17 domestic and 8 international cities. We are now connected with 44 domestic and 12 international cities. Under the Udaan scheme, UP aviation ministry has constructed operational civil terminals at Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Gorakhpur, Prayagraj, Bareli and Hindon (Ghaziabad). Under the RCS out of 17 airstrips in the state, 6 are being upgraded for domestic airports – Azamgarh, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Myorpur, Muradabad and Shravasti – and 2 have been upgraded as International airport. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gifted two International Airports to Uttar Pradesh, Zevar International airport in Noida which will connect NCR and western Uttar Pradesh with International cities, and Kushinagar International airport – which became the 29th International airport of India – will give better connectivity to eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Kushinagar International airport will not only provide better connectivity but will also help in rapid development of eastern Uttar Pradesh as easy connectivity will attract many tourists and disciples of Lord Buddha. In words of Minister of Civil Aviation of India Hardeep Singh Puri, “Fulfilling a long pending demand of pilgrims and visitors, Union Cabinet, under the visionary leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi has declared the airport in the holy Buddihist city of Kushinagar, where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvan, as an International airport“. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also announced an airport for Ayodhya for which funds have been allotted. Making Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words ‘Jaan bhi, Jahaan bhi’ as a motto, the UP aviation ministry is determined to keep its passengers safe while maintaining excellent connectivity.
Given the several phases of lockdown, the wheels of development would have come to a grinding halt had not individuals from various sectors come out to keep it rolling efficiently. With unlock 1, wheels of normalcy are setting into motion. However, things are now not going to be the same as before the pandemic. The virus has taught us a life-lesson – that of galvanising into a strong force in the times of need. Today, we stand together to fight this pandemic and the precautions we take will ensure our victory. The governments – both at the centre and the state – are fighting the pandemic shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Stay safe, stay home and keep washing your hands.