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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Plan to extend chopper service on the anvil

Saptarshi Banerjee , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 29, 2013
First Published: 13:58 IST(29/7/2013) | Last Updated: 14:00 IST(29/7/2013)

After tying up with Pawan Hans to launch a joyride chopper service from the now-defunct Behala airport, the Mamata Banerjee government is now keen to extend the services to newer destinations in the city.

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“We are looking to extend the chopper service to such destinations as Digha, Haldia and Gangasagar. We are keen to augment the service and discussed the proposal at length during a meeting a couple of days back. I would shortly visit Haldia and the Sagar Islands and will hold further meetings with district officials on ways to extend the chopper service to these places. I will seek a proper feedback on the proposal and then decide on the future course of action,” state tourism minister Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury told HT.

“Extending the chopper service to Digha and Sagar Islands would go a long way towards enhancing the tourism potential of these places. As for Haldia, a dedicated chopper service would help in the movement of industrialists and corporate tycoons willing to invest there,” the minister said.

According to sources, the minister is set to hold a series of meetings on August 5, also featuring transport minister Madan Mitra, representatives of Pawan Hans and officials of both the departments.

Also involving key state officials posted in the proposed new destinations, the meeting would debate on the feasibility of the proposal.

The final call would be made after the meeting, said sources.

“The launch of a joyride chopper service by Pawan Hans has drawn a good response and offers a panoramic, aerial view of the city. We are now keen to extend the service to newer destinations,” Chowdhury said.

“We have already begun talks with state ministers and officials on the proposed extension of services,” Sanjay Kumar, general manager, marketing, of Pawan Hans told HT.

He said the company would weigh the feasibility of the project before going ahead with the proposed extension of services.

“We have already taken some strides in this regard and will soon sign an MoU with the authorities at the Durgapur airport (Aerotropolis) on provision of necessary infrastructure and requisite facilities for the extension of services there,” Kumar said.

He said Pawan Hans was also open to working with the state government on disaster management and sending medical teams to remote corners along with other similar efforts.

The joyride chopper service across the city spans 10 minutes and costs R1,700 perperson.

The choppers used for the service can seat up to 10 passengers along with two pilots.


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