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Rawat order probe into costly Chardham air ride

dehradun Updated: May 22, 2017 20:38 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Trivendra Singh Rawat,Chardham

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat interacts with a BJP worker at the party office in Dehradun on Monday.(HT Photo)

DEHRADUN: The Rudraprayag district magistrate will conduct a probe into the charges against helicopter companies overcharging Chardham pilgrims, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Monday.

He added that complaints regarding the firms charging double the prescribed air fare were brought to his notice. “I have asked the district magistrate of Rurdraprayag to initiate a probe if helicopter companies are willfully overcharging airfare from pilgrims visiting the Chardham,” Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of the ’Meet the CM programme’ at the BJP state office.

Pilgrims were complaining that the helicopter companies were charging Rs 11, 600 each for a trip to the Chardham against the prescribed airfare of Rs 6,500, he said.

“Even when I am on tour, I am constantly in touch with the district magistrates of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi, which constitute the Chardhams,” he said, referring to his recent visit to Gangtok. “And each complaint that is brought to our notice is taken note of.”

Rawat refused to go into criticisms against the excise policy. “It is clear from our excise policy that we have reduced the time of liquor sale by eight hours in as many as nine districts. We have imposed 2% cess on sale of liquor, which will be spent on road safety, women welfare and anti-liquor awareness campaign.”

The government had ordered some liquor vendors to close shops, he said,reiterating his government’s policy to curbing liquor sale. “I don’t think ban on sale and consumption liquor serves any purpose. During my recent visit to Ranchi, a hotelier told me that the entire tourism business and parties had shifted to Jharkhand due to the liquor ban in Bihar.”

Some people were criticising the government’s liquor policy for political reasons while others indulge in criticism just for the sake of it, he said.

Rawat dubbed as baseless the Congress allegation that there had been no progress on the CBI probe into the NH-74 land scam because the government was trying to protect a top leader. “Had that been the case we wouldn’t recommend a probe into that scam…All allegations about the government stonewalling the CBI probe are baseless,” he said.

Referring to his Gangtok visit to attend a meeting of the chief ministers, Rawat said it was aimed to give a fillip to development in the frontier areas. “It was the first-of-its-kind programme held since Independence,” he said.

Rawat said he would interact with BJP workers on every second and fourth Monday. “During such interactions with party workers, we get a number of crucial innovative suggestions from them. Besides, they (interactions) also help the government establish a dialogue with people in general and the party workers in particular,” he added.

First Published: May 22, 2017 20:38 IST