Statesman news service
Kolkata, 29 November
The state government, in arrangement with Pawan Hans Ltd, will soon introduce weekly helicopter services from Kolkata to Gangasagar, Santiniketan, Durgapur, Malda and Balurghat. The services will be introduced on a pilot basis and will be regularised if there is a positive response.
Transport Secretary Alapan Bandhopadhaya said this is in line with the announcement made by chief minister Mamata Banerjee during her north Bengal visit. The government will put to use a seven-seat chopper it has hired from Pawan Hans. “We pay Pawan Hans Rs 50 lakh for 40 flying hours a month, but in practice the government uses it for barely two-three hours. It has been decided that keeping five flying hours reserved for government use, the other 35 hours will be used for the passenger service,” he said.
The helicopter services, to be operated from Behala Flying Club in Kolkata, will fly on a weekly schedule. The Kolkata-Gangasagar service will operate every Sunday at a one-way fare of Rs 1,500, Kolkata-Durgapur every Monday at Rs 4,200, Kolkata-Santiniketan every Saturday at Rs 1,500, Kolkata-Malda and Kolkata-Balurghat every Wednesday at Rs 1,300 and Rs 1,500, respectively. The services could commence as early as the second week of December.