As the Air Odisha plane passed through the celebratory water cannon salute in Jagdalpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi waved a green flag in Bhilai, 300 km away, in a symbolic gesture to mark the beginning of commercial flights linking Bastar under the UDAAN regional air connectivity scheme.
Inside the new Bastar terminal, constructed at a cost of Rs 39.58 crore, reporters and officials watched and waved as the flight took off on its 40-minute hop to Raipur – a journey that takes six-seven hours by road. “For many years in India, all the talk about Bastar was about bombs, guns, pistols and violence. Today, the talk about Bastar is linked to the airport in Jagdalpur,” said Modi.
One of the four passengers who took the flight back from Raipur to Jagdalpur Thursday was Manish Gupta, editor of the Bastar edition of Navbharat and a veteran of the region. “It could be a turning point in the Bastar narrative. For so long, Bastar has been treated as if its entire area is conflict-ridden. This will tell people that there are parts of Bastar that have become normal, and are open to visit and invest,” he said.
Read more of this in a report by Dipankar Ghose published in The Indian Express....