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Ajit Singh inaugurates Air India’s Delhi-Agra flight, SP stays away

Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday inaugurated Air India’s flight to Agra from New Delhi, arriving at the Kheria airport from the national capital by the first flight. Speaking at a function at Kheria airport, Ajit Singh blamed the Samajwadi Party government in Lucknow for delaying the international airport project for Agra and not responding to his repeated demands to acquire land for the new terminal building near the existing Kheria airport.

The inaugural function was virtually boycotted by the Samajwadi Party leaders in Agra. Even district officials, including District Magistrate Ajay Chauhan, failed to turn up. Tourism industry leader Rajiv Tiwari said, ‘Agra unfortunately is being made a football between state and centre. Obviously, the state government does not seem interested in promoting tourism in Agra. We do not need an international airport. We just need a terminal at the Kheria airport. That will solve many of our problems.

Agra Development Foundation president K C Jain found the absence of senior district officials at the function ‘intriguing’. Jain said, ‘It’s clear some forces do not want the promotion of Agra airport, as it could affect business in Delhi. The Samajwadi Party is playing politics.’

A schedule released said that flights to Agra would be initially available three days a week. Air India Airbus 320 will connect New Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi. The civil aviation minister indicated that a helicopter service would soon be available to Agra too; Vrindavan already has chopper connectivity to Delhi.

Airports Authority of India has identified 55 acres near the Air Force base that could be acquired by the state government for the construction of an additional terminal at the airport in Agra. The state government, however, has still to initiate land acquisition.
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