For mitigating the hardships faced by the snow-bound people in Himachal Pradesh, the 80-year-old chief minister has grounded his plans for flying to the national capital.
Driving at their convenience, Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh informed the assembly on Thursday that he now travels by road to Delhi, leaving his official chopper for them.
Replying to a question of Congress member Ravi Thakur, the chief minister said the chooper has been deployed for airlifting people in snow-struck Pangi, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts.
"It's used for airlifting stranded locals during emergency. I am using the helicopter only in case of an emergency," he added.
He said 24 helicopter sorties were undertaken this winter in Lahaul-Spiti district in which 606 people, including 20 patients, were airlifted till February 15.
The chief minister said priority to undertake a sortie is given for emergency evacuation of patients.
Thakur demanded that a special helicopter should be deployed for evacuating people in Lahaul-Spiti district only.
The Lahaul and Spiti valleys in Lahaul-Spiti and Pangi in Chamba district remain cut off for at least five months from December owing to heavy snowfall.
The road connectivity reopens once the snow starts thawing after mid-April.