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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Pilgrimage on wings: Chopper ride to Vrindavan takes off

Faizan Haider and Sidhartha Roy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 29, 2012
First Published: 00:10 IST(29/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:03 IST(29/11/2012)

Vrindavan is now just a helicopter ride away from Delhi. The state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. (PHHL) on Wednesday started daily helicopter services from Terminal 1-D of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) Airport to the temple town.

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A one-way ride to Vrindavan will cost Rs. 3,900 while you pay Rs. 7,000 for a round-trip.

Pawan Hans has plans to connect Delhi with Jaipur and Mathura as well. "The Delhi-Vrindavan service will operate daily. We will take up more areas depending on the bookings," said Anil Srivastava, chairman and managing director, Pawan Hans.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/11/29_11_12-metro2.jpg

The company for long has been planning to start helicopter services between the capital and nearby cities and towns for tourist, business and medical needs.

While cities such as Vrindavan, Mathura and Jaipur witness a huge tourist footfall, Pawan Hans officials feel that people living in areas such as Meerut and Muzaffarnagar will be interested in air ambulance services to Delhi.

Though PHHL had proposed to operate the helicopter services from a helipad near Akshardham, security concerns raised by various security agencies grounded the plan.

The service was initially supposed to start from Akshardham and a high-level meeting had taken place earlier this year. "The main concern of the security agency was of the sensitive temple.

The area was already under threat and operating a chopper from there would have made it more vulnerable. Also, no traffic and security plan was submitted by the operators. The local police also had some issues," a source said.

Sources said that the Commonwealth Games Village was a major concern. "It was not feasible to operate from there and we asked the company to operate from the airport instead of middle of the city," a source in Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) said.


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