December 28, 2013
Kolkata comes closer to districts, thanks to helicopter services
Not long back, West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee had promised that helicopter services will connect Kolkata with industrial towns like Durgapur, tourism destinations like Gangasagar, Santiniketan and important administrative towns in North Bengal like Balurghat and Malda. Come Sunday, the promises are going to be fulfilled.
The transport system in the city will get smarter by a notch on Sunday with the introduction of passenger helicopter service to Gangasagar. The state transport department has already signed a MoU with Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) to start the service.
The helicopter will take off from Behala Flying Club. It will take only 35 minutes to reach Gangasagar. Helicopters will ferry passengers to the pilgrimage centre only on Sundays. The transport department has fixed the fare at Rs 1,500. Bookings will start from December 29.
Once PHL starts its operations to Gangasagar, services at subsidized rate will be extended to Durgapur, Malda, Balurghat and Santiniketan, said state transport minister Madan Mitra on Friday. While a one-way ride to Durgapur, bookings of which will start on December 30, will cost Rs 2,500, the fare to Malda and Balurghat has been fixed at Rs 1,300 and Rs 1,500, respectively.
Bookings for Malda and Balurghat will start from January 1. Helicopter services to Durgapur will be on every Mondays and to Malda and Balurghat on every Wednesdays. Meanwhile, services to Santiniketan via Durgapur will be on every Saturdays and the one way fare will be Rs 1,500.
Announcing the agreement earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said services could be started on Haldia-Digha and Kolkata-Diamond Harbour-Raichak routes to begin with. According to her, services to places like Malda and Balurghat may also be added since there are airstrips there. Bengal, the CM had promised, would jointly develop infrastructure and connectivity for helicopter services.