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Uttarakhand HC seeks govt reply over chopper service pricing

The Uttarakhand high court on Wednesday sought a reply from the state government and three companies providing chopper services in a case pertaining to the tendering process for ferrying pilgrims to Kedarnath shrine

dehradun Updated: May 16, 2018 22:42 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Nainital
Uttarakhand news,Uttarakhand High Court,chopper services
The Uttarakhand High Court has sought a reply from the state government on the pricing for ferrying pilgrims to the Kedarnath shrine. (Representative Picture/HT File Photo.)

The Uttarakhand high court on Wednesday sought a reply from the state government and three companies providing chopper services in a case pertaining to the tendering process for ferrying pilgrims to Kedarnath shrine, said Xitij Kaushik, counsel of the petitioner.

Kaushik said that the court has sought a reply within four weeks on why pilgrims were being charged more than the maximum rate fixed by the state government for ferrying them to the Kedarnath shrine through a chopper service.

The reply was sought by a single bench of Justice Lokpal Singh.

On May 8, the court had ordered the counsel of the petitioner that three chopper service providers –Aryan Aviation Pvt Ltd, Pawan Hans Ltd and Himalayan Heli Services Ltd be made respondents in the case. The three private companies were awarded contracts for providing chopper services from Gupkashi, Phata and Sirsi to Kedarnath shrine on April 27 this year.

Earlier during a hearing in the case, Justice Lokpal Singh had questioned that despite the state government fixing the maximum fare at Rs 7,300 for the chopper service, a website was charging Rs 9,990 for the same.

The state government has fixed Rs 6,700 for Phata-Kedarnath, Rs 7,300 for Gupt Kashi-Kedarnath helicopter service and Rs 6,350 for Sersi-Kedarnath service.

Rajeev Dhar, the petitioner, who operates a helipad in Trijuginarayan in Sitapur area, had alleged anomalies in the bidding process and filed a writ petition in the court on April 16.

The petitioner had alleged that tendering process was allegedly moving towards creating a monopoly of the nine helipads owned by the chopper service companies that are presently operating from Sirsi, Guptkashi and Phata to Kedarnath shrine.

The petitioner had alleged that as many as six amendments were made in the original tender floated by the Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority for the chopper services on the three routes —Phata to Kedarnath, Sitapur Sirsi to Kedarnath and Guptkashi to Kedarnath.

First Published: May 16, 2018 22:41 IST