Mass urban migration is one of the major issues which India has been facing for a long time now. The reason behind it is a lack of opportunities in smaller cities prompting people to move out of their hometowns to metros. This has created a sort of imbalance with bigger cities being overly exploited and the potential of tier II and tier III cities being grossly untapped. Development is also directly linked with how connected these cities and towns are with other parts of the country and the world.
Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh and also one of the cultural hubs of the country, is one of the major tier II cities which is facing this issue. Even as it has a functional airport, which has a daily movement of just 16 flights inbound and outbound to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Raipur and Lucknow, as far the international connectivity is considered, there are just Hajj flights to Jeddah.
Poor air connectivity to Bhopal
This problem of connectivity has been persistent for a very long time. Even before when the Airport Authority of India embarked on modernizing airports in tier II cities, a new airport terminal at the Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal was constructed. However, even after these many years that infrastructure remains unused.
The Logical Indian spoke to Prachi Baluapuri who is spearheading an online campaign which is pushing for a better air connectivity of Bhopal. This community is right now 40,000 members strong. Speaking of the specific issues, Baluapuri said, “Bhopal is centrally located and sees a lot of air traffic. However, the air connectivity to the city is very poor. To go to or come from any other city apart from Delhi, Mumbai, Raipur and Lucknow, one would have to travel to Indore, which enjoys better air connectivity. Indore again is three and half hour journey away from Bhopal.”
Independently accumulated data from surveys by the community has revealed that since 2017, Bhopal has seen a 15% rise in the number of passengers.
She also adds that the AC-2 and AC-3 train travel cost, from say Bangalore to Bhopal is comparable to the air ticket prices from Banglore to Indore. It is quite significant since the difference in travel time between the two modes is more than 24 hours. “All this is hampering the tourist and industries in Bhopal,” Baluapuri says.
Apart from the Hajj flights, the international connectivity is also quite poor. The group is demanding for direct flights to South Asia, to begin with.
Popular Actor Manoj Bajpayee too has posted on his social account asking for better air connectivity to Bhopal.
There is a need to start s campaign for sir connectivity to bhopal.its a historical and cultural centre of north and it should get its due credit.
“Have been raising this issue”
The community members and other residents of Bhopal have approached several government officials and the Airport Authority of India to take up this issue seriously. While the AAI is yet to respond to the multiple mails and letters asking for the same, Bhopal MP Alok Sanjar has assured that he would take this issue up.
While speaking to The Times of India, he said, “I have been raising the issue of giving a status of international to Bhopal airport. However, the biggest issue is the lack of flights. My immediate concern is to get more airlines to operate from here.”
The Logical Indian take
Urban migration is a grave issue and one of the reasons behind is poor connectivity to smaller cities and towns. Bhopal being centrally located and capital of one of the largest states of India is still suffering due to this. We hope that the considered authorities take due cognisance of this matter and address this issue.