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STARTING TOMORROW Heli taxi service to connect Shimla with Chandigarh

June 03, 2018 06:16 AM

COURSTEY TOI JUNE 3

STARTING TOMORROW
Heli taxi service to connect Shimla with Chandigarh
Anand.Bodh@timesgroup.com

Shimla:

To cut short the distance between Chandigarh and Shimla, the Himachal Pradesh government is going to start a heli taxi service from Monday between the two cities, sources said.


The introductory fare has been kept at Rs 2,999 for one side. This time around 70% tickets have already been booked for the entire month of June.

The journey would be completed in 20 minutes. The fare would be reviewed after a month, the government has said.

While the similar initiative taken around seven years back during Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government had failed to take off, authorities this time are hopeful of better response after seeing the initial response.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said that besides launching the chopper taxi service on June 4, between Shimla and Chandigarh from Jubbarhatti airport, there is another proposal to launch chopper ride between Manali and Rohtang Pass for the tourists.

Thakur said that tourists can take 15 minutes joyride in the chopper. The scheme would be launched in next 2-3 months.

He said that another scheme under consideration is that tourists would be dropped at Rohtang Pass where they can move around for two hours and then would be airlifted back to Manali.

He said that efforts are being made to start heli taxi services in the areas which have not been explored for tourism activity much. Connecting Shikari Mata with this service is also being planned in the future.

Additional chief secretary for tourism Ram Subagh Singh told TOI that initially heli taxi would be made available twice a week but later regular flights would be operated under the UDAAN scheme. “We have kept initial introductory fare at Rs 2,999 but it would be revised after some time, but increase in fare would be around Rs 500-700,” he said.

At present, train journey and road journey from Kalka and Chandigarh takes around 3 to 4 hours but with the launch of heli taxi service the journey would be completed in 20 minutes, he added.

“After the idea of introducing heli taxi was discussed with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, he immediately agreed to provide the state chopper for the purpose of promoting tourism activity in the state. If in next two months, scheme is found commercially viable then we would launch regular flights and for this we are already in talks with helicopter service providing companies,” he added.

Around seven years back, heli taxi service was launched on January 29, 2011 from Annadale ground in Shimla but it had failed miserably.

Himachal Pradesh has 63 operational helipads across state, including in remote tribal areas known for their exotic location hidden from outer world, sources said here on Saturday

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