The Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) is likely to start the services from Thursday after the inspection by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reviewing the helipads and choppers for heli-services to pilgrims in the Mandakini valley on May 14 , said a senior official.
“Heli-services to Kedarnath shrine and Hemkund Sahib Shrine should start from May 15, after the DGCA conducts an inspection of the arrangements in the Mandakini valley. The charges for the heli-services have already been fixed and only the inspection is left to be done as of now,” said Dilip Jawalkar, chief executive officer of UCADA.
The inspection was earlier scheduled for Monday, but was delayed as officials were on poll duty. The team will check the condition of the helicopters, helipads and the facilities available for the passengers who would be taking these choppers to the shrines this yatra season. UCADA this year has awarded bids to only 10 companies instead of the 18 companies listed on the official website.
The technical and financial bids for the chopper service was completed on Sunday, where it was decided that nine chopper companies will be allowed to ferry pilgrims to Kedarnath shrine and one will be allowed to fly to Hemkund Sahib. The portals for the Hemkund Sahib will be thrown open for pilgrims on June 1.
Compared to last year, the rates for chopper services of eight companies have gone down and for two companies it has increased.
The prices have been increased for two helipads operating from Guptakashi to Kedarnath, by Rs 625 compared to the rates of 2018.
This year, UCADA had set one condition that all heli-service operators will have to ferry passengers at the lowest price quoted by any bidder.
May 14, 2019 16:22 IST