New Delhi, 2017.06.09 (The Economic Times): Come September, you may be able to hop onto a chopper from Noida to visit Lord Krishna’s abode, Vrindavan, or the Taj Mahal in Agra. An aerial parikrama of Mathura and the Krishna circuit may also be on offer.
The Yogi Adityanath government is entering into a memorandum of understanding with helicopter service company Pawan Hans Limited to start chopper services between ten major locations in the state, including Ayodhya and Varanasi.
This is in accordance with a promise made by the BJP in its manifesto ahead of the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.
The project will kick off with chopper services from Noida to Vrindavan and Agra, as per a detailed report by Pawan Hans to the UP government at a meeting with the UP chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar on May 30, a copy of which was seen by ET.
“Pawan Hans will be devoting two light choppers in Phase 1. One of them will take off from Noida to land in Vrindavan and come back in the evening,” said a senior UP government official, who did not wish to be identified. “During the day, the chopper will offer aerial parikrama of the Krishna land, giving a glimpse of Mathura and Govardhan from the air.”
An 84-km parikrama (round) of Vrindavan and Mathura on foot is done by devotees over many days to attain salvation. The chopper round will take only about 20-30 minutes.
Pawan Hans is enthused about this route since it falls in the peak tourism circuit. UP government will build helipads and offer infrastructure for these chopper services to debut in the state, officials said.
A Pawan Hans functionary said the charges will be on lines of the ‘Delhi Darshan’ services started recently from Rohini heliport, which offers a 20-minute aerial ride over Red Fort, Akshardham Temple and Rajghat for Rs 5,000.
On Thursday, UP minister Siddharth Nath Singh met junior civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha in Delhi said the UP government wants to build an international airport in Jewar near Noida and Kushinagar as well as work on air connectivity between smaller UP towns. “The last government did not let the Jewar airport plan proceed. We want to join the Ganga circuit (Allahabad and Varanasi) and Buddha circuit in UP by chopper,” Singh said.
Officials said the state government could enter into a joint venture with Pawan Hans for phases 2 and 3 of the project, which could see equal capital infusion by the two parties and introduction of light fixed wing aircraft and choppers to fly between locations such as Ayodhya, Varanasi, Chitrakoot, Kushinagar, Allahabad and Vindhyanchal.
“This will come over the next two years as JV gets finalised and capital infusion happens,” a Pawan Hans official said, requesting not to be named.
The expansion will also depend on the footfall in the first phase, the aviation company’s executives said.
“The scope for chopper services is phenomenal,” the state government official cited earlier said. “UP is a big state and a land of many cultures, religions and tourists of all hues come here to see the Taj Mahal, the Buddhist locations in Sarnath near Varanasi and Kushinagar or the Ganga in Allahabad and Varanasi,” he said.
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