Helicopter services are no less than a boon for Uttarakhand which is the first state to start these under the UDAN 2.0 scheme. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said this after inaugurating the second helicopter summit online here on Friday. The webinar organised jointly by the Civil Aviation ministry and FICCI was focussed on the condition and possibilities in helicopter service in the nation.
Rawat pointed out that Uttarakhand is a sensitive state from the strategic point of view having borders with two countries. Special focus is being laid on expansion of air services in the State.
The Dehradun airport is being developed as per international standards while the Pantnagar airport is being developed as a greenfield airport. Presently there are 50 helipads in the state with the government of India being requested to enable establishment of more helipads, he said.
The CM recalled that the country’s first helicopter summit was successfully hosted by Uttarakhand last year. Due to the Covid pandemic, the summit had to be organised on the virtual platform this year.
He expressed hope that this problem will end soon and normal life will resume shortly.
Referring to helicopter services introduced in Uttarakhand under the UDAN scheme, Rawat said that the state had been awarded for its proactive work under this scheme. Recently, Pawan Hans has started a helicopter service for Dehradun, Tehri and Srinagar. Stating that various problems are faced during the rains in the state, he said that helicopters provide better service during emergency situations. Recently, after a disaster in Pithoragarh, 55 persons were transported to secure locations by helicopter. He said that Haldwani, Almora and Dharchula will also be linked under UDAN in the future.
The Union Civil Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that the government and private sector have performed well in the country’s aviation sector. Air service providers also played a role in transporting medicines, medical equipment and other materials during the Covid pandemic. He also stressed on the need to focus on making helicopter services affordable for the general public. Other expenses can be curtailed to enable this, he said.