Tripura govt demands fuel and aviation subsidy for NE states

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Agartala, June 21 (UNI) The Tripura government has expressed concern over further hike of airfare and demanded auxiliary subsidy on both petroleum products and airfare for Northeastern states.

Talking to UNI here today, state Transport Minister Manik Dey said as Tripura and most of the Northeastern states did not have adequate transportation network, people were forced to travel by air for movement outside the state.

''Students in particular are frequent travellers in the Agartala-Kolkata sector by air, besides the residents of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh because of absence of railway network and other geographical difficulties.

However, the further increase of airfare has spelled trouble for the Northeast,'' Mr Dey said.

He underlined that airfare had increased five times from June 2 to June 20 at the rate of Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 between Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati routes, which was not manageable for the people of Tripura and other Northeastern states.

Mr Dey demanded that the Centre should provide further subsidy on fuel and other petroleum products as well as in aviation sector considering the backwardness and per capita income of the region.

Full-service carriers have hiked their fares by upto Rs 3,000 while low-cost carrier Spice Jet has decided to hike the fuel surcharge component on tickets from yesterday while UB Group-owned Kingfisher-Deccan combine was also expected to hike its base fares in the same proportion next week, Mr Dey added.

Market leader Jet Airways and state-owned Air India have decided not to hike fuel surcharge but base fares instead. For distances less than 750 km, Jet had hiked prices by Rs 1,000, between 750-1,000 km by Rs 2,250 and above 1,000 km by Rs 3,000. Subsidiary Jet Lite had a minimum fare hike of Rs 500, Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 for the three distance slabs.

Air India has introduced 'minimum basic fares' of Rs 1,000-Rs 3,000, similar to Jet in both Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati sector but Agartala-Silchar would continue to have the same basic fare of Rs 1,000, Air India officials stated here.

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