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Central govt employees can now enjoy air travel on LTC
After a bonanza pay package, central government employees can now enjoy the benefit of travelling by air to any north east state through LTC. It might be a political agenda but will surely increase tourism in these violence trodden states.
NOT EVEN two months have passed since the government has given a bonanza pay package through the sixthpay commission to its 5.5 million employees, and now government has come out with another gift package. This time, government has taken care of other fringe benefits of its babus.


In an office memorandum issued by the ministry of personal, public grievances and pension, government of India stated that Group A and B central government employees would be entitled to travel by air from their place of posting or nearest airport to a city in North Eastern (NE) region. Other categories of employees would be entitled to travel by air to a city in North Eastern region from Guwahati or Kolkata. Barring some exception in higher grade officers, in central government most of the employees are allowed a Leave Travel Concession (LTC) by train (AC/Non AC coach) only and allowing them on a one time basis air travel, this will certainly bring a smile on the faces of central government employees and their family who find themselves no where as compared to their counterparts in private company jobs, be it salary or other benefits.


All central government employees would be allowed to convert one block of home town LTC into LTC. The facility to the employees will be for two years with effect from (wef) May 2, 2008. It appears that the scheme is only for a temporary period of two years, but facility once introduced is very difficult to be withdrawn.


The decision to allow government employees to travel by air on leave travel concession (LTC) has come at a time when crude prices have hit its record price at US Dollars 126 per barrel, which is slowly making air travel out of the reach for general public.


In the election year government wants to give this facility in the name of boosting tourism in the scenic North Eastern region comprising of ‘seven sisters’ states Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh of North East. This sudden remembrance of North East appears to be a political ambition.


Whatever political mileage would be there the decision is certainly going to attract lot of central government employees as tourist in NE region, which due to violence in most of the states of the region has dwindled. As per an estimate even if one per cent of government official families decide to travel to the region it would result in an inflow of 7000 extra tourists and generation of considerable revenues. And now since the government is taking burden of air travel certainly almost all the 5.5 million people will visit the NE states in next two years.
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