After the success of heli-taxi service for Manimahesh in Chamba district and increasing demand for a similar service for Adi Himani Chamunda in Kangra district. Tourism department is mulling to set up helipads near all shrines in the state and constitute a helipad maintenance authority.
The department has directed all district tourism officers to undertake a survey and send a report of all places where a helipad is needed. It has decided to link the popular shrines at Jwalamukhi, Kangra, Chamunda, Chintpurni, Manimahesh and Bharmour through a heli-taxi service.
Several lakh pilgrims visit the shrines every year, especially during Navratras. The process of land acquisition for setting up a helipad near the old Chamunda temple has been initiated. The state has a network of 60 helipads. It plans to link various tourist places through a heli-taxi service, which has not found many takers since its launch with four operators almost two years back.
In case more helipads are added to the existing list of 60 linking pilgrim centres in the state, there are plans to constitute a helipad maintenance authority to ensure that those are maintained and kept in working condition the year round. At present, operators are allowed to run the service after seeking permission from the Director-General, Civil Aviation, for airworthiness and engaging trained pilots.
The most numbers of pilgrims who visit the shrines are from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. If heli-taxi operators get permission, they will fly the pilgrims from Chandigarh. It will not only save their time, but also helped them to expose to the tricky Hill roads of Himachal Pradesh.