Small cities, including Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, will be linked with air services in the near future and the Centre is working on a policy to this effect, Union minister Mahesh Sharma has said.
In the first phase, operations will be started in Jaisalmer and Jodhpur airports in Rajasthan, the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Civil Aviation said here yesterday.
The new aviation policy to bring small cities on the aviation map will be announced soon, he said. The fare will not be very high and it can go up to Rs 2,500 and such a journey will take around one hour.
Noting that Jaisalmer has got a huge potential in tourism, art and culture, the minister said it would be developed as a tourism hub.
The central government has approved a grant of Rs 170 crore for setting up of a National Desert Circuit, and Jaisalmer would be linked with it, Sharma said.
In view of religious tourism, Ramdevera and Tanot would also be linked to a tourism circuit in western Rajasthan, he said.
The civil aviation policy would be implemented in the next 15 days and Tier-II cities would be linked with air services, Sharma said in Barmer earlier in the day.
All such airports would be provided with a budgetary support of Rs 50 crore each, he said.
The minister said he had come to explore tourism potential in western districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jodhpur, and held meetings with officers and public representatives to seek their recommendations.
He said steps are being taken to promote produces of artisans and enterprises in Barmer.
A sum of Rs 650 crore would be spent on 'Desert Tourism Circuit'.
He said the issue of laying of railway line between Jaisalmer and Kandla port would be taken up with Railway Ministry.
On a question related to terror, the minister said Pakistan too was facing the challenge of terrorism and that India was well-equipped to face such challenges.
Barmer-Jaisalmer MP Colonel Sonaram Choudhary said desert tourism would be promoted in Barmer. District collector Sudhir Sharma apprised the minister of various development schemes.