“Before the 2014 polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised direct international flights to and from Agra’s Kheria airport but the government has now backtracked,” said Anil Sharma, convener of Civil Aviation Society, which is leading the movement in support of air connectivity for the past three years.
The work on the air terminal, now renamed after BJP’s ideologue Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, continues after land acquisition from farmers but airlines do not seem to be in a mood to touch down in Agra.
“It is really strange that under the Udaan scheme a number of smaller towns have been connected by flights but Agra, India’s tourist destination number one, remains isolated,” said Rajeev Saxena, a social activist.
“Successive governments have succumbed to pressures from the Delhi lobby of hotels and travel agents which do not want Agra to be connected by air,” he said.
As Agra is not connected by air, foreign tourists have to first get down in Delhi and come by road on an excursion trip to the Taj city.
“This leads to a waste of precious time and resources of the tourists who then avoid visiting other monuments in Agra so as to rush back to Delhi the same day,” said the founder President of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, Surendra Sharma.