No efforts for cartelisation in civil aviation industry:Patel

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (UNI) The Government today denied charges that attempts were being made for cartelisation in the civil aviation industry by airlines through mergers.

Replying to a question, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told the Lok Sabha that his Ministry had received complaints that some private airlines had imposed tax on customers during the purchase of tickets.

He said the airlines were supposed to charge a tax and it was uniform in all cases.'' But if this is other than that charge, the Government will take penal action against such private airlines and ensure that the money is returned,'' he added.

Mr Patel said there were specific norms for setting up airports in the country and accordingly many State Governments had initiated steps either on their own or through the joint venture route.

He said the Centre alone could not meet the demand for setting up a large number of airports in the country.

Currently around 81 airports were operational in the country and efforts are on to increase this number substantially, he added.

Replying to another question, Mr Patel said the present norms stipulated that airports could not be set up within a range of 150 km from another airport. He said this norm was set in 1997 and the aviation industry had witnessed a drastic change during the last decade and more particularly in the last three years.

The Government is fully aware of these infrastructural problems and a committee was being set up to look into these aspects and it is expected that these norms will be done away with soon, the minister said.

Mr Patel said the Government had initiated steps to set up two airports -- one each at Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim -- as the two States did not have airlinks of their own.

UNI

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