Imagine this: You’re passing by a bus depot. What you see is not the usual fleet of red BEST buses, but a chopper parked there.
This could happen in future if the Brihanumumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Committee, its governing body, approves a proposal put up by its administration.
The proposal says the committee should consider a request by a private chopper-flying agency to lend space at BEST’s Backbay bus depot for permanent landing and take-off of helicopters.
“The entire day, the depot remains vacant and we thought of giving it out and earning revenue,” said BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade.
The BEST Committee is expected to study the same and decide whether or not to grant permission.
The firm wants to provide helicopter services across the city.
The proposal states they want a permanent landing and take-off facility for which they will pay Rs 50,000 a month. Moreover, it needs space for its office and pilots’ rest room on rent and will pay Rs 5,000 a landing and take-off.
“The firm also wants temporary landing space at five depots for which it will pay separately. Other depots can be thought about gradually,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.
Barring the first hour, the firm is ready to pay waiting charges of Rs 500 per hour at Backbay Depot, and Rs 750 at other depots.
The maximum limit for landing and take-off is 5 times a day at any of the five depots. “Initially, we will start at Backbay and then go ahead with Dharavi, Oshiwara, Anik, Wadala and Gorai depots,” said Dilip Patel, chairman, BEST Committee.
Meanwhile, some BEST committee members are opposed to the idea.
“BEST’s priority should be to provide transport to common people,” said BEST Committee member Ravi Raja.