Published on : Monday, December 30, 2013
Kolkata launches its first chopper service to Ganga Sagar in a twin-engine Dauphin helicopter with seven passengers on board. This is the best way Bengal plans to stay connected with its remote districts to maintain sustainability.
It will be a 35-minute journey to Ganga Sagar. Tha chopper will be flying at an altitude of 2,000ft said Captain Vishal Malhotra as he announced from the cockpit before take-off on his first flight in this route from the Behala Flying Club tarmac.
Pawan Hans Ltd was originally scheduled to start the service — once-a-week to and from Durgapur, Malda, Balurghat, Santiniketan and Ganga Sagar. The inauguration was postponed because of “technical reasons”.
The service has been specially started for the annual Ganga Sagar Mela. The subsidised return fare to Ganga Sagar is Rs 3,000, less than half of what a passenger would otherwise have to pay. The introductory fare for Durgapur is Rs 2,500, but will be raised to Rs 4,200 next week.
Till Sunday evening, five passengers were booked on the first flight to Durgapur, sources in the transport department said. The officials said that the first couple of week will not be a problem; the challenge will come in sustaining the service.