New Delhi: K J Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) met Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation in his office along with V Muralidheeran, Member of Parliament. The issues of formulating a Rubber Policy, based on the report of the Task Force, and the Kannur airport were discussed at length.
Alphons demanded minimum support price for rubber, just like for all agricultural products, and it should be 50 per cent above the cost of production. The Commerce Minister informed that this has to be taken up by the Cabinet, after consultations with the Ministry of Finance, and that the matter will be speeded up.
Regarding cashew, Prabhu that the Ministry is working out a package for the cashew industry and it will be sent to the Ministry of Finance at the earliest.
The issue of Kannur Airport was also discussed at the meeting. The Minister of Civil Aviation said that permission has been given to Jet Airways and to GoAir to fly to Abu Dhabi and Dammam. Indigo Airlines has applied for Kannur – Doha service and it will also be approved, while Air India Express has applied for Kannur – Abu Dhabi, Kannur – Muscat and Kannur – Riyadh flights and these are being approved.
Regarding granting permission for foreign airlines to fly to Kannur, the Minister for Civil Aviation informed that it is a policy decision which the Government has to take, as Kannur is a new operational point and generally would be permitted only on a mutual basis. However, Alphons told Prabhu that foreign airlines should be permitted to operate to Saudi Arabia and Sharjah as seats are available as per mutual agreement. The Civil Aviation Minister also said that procedures to grant the statutory permissions required to open the Kannur Airport will be speeded up.