Itanagar By Pradeep Kumar
Land-locked Arunachal Pradesh known for communication hazard to many unlinked areas did excellent services during last few days, said Lumla lawmaker Jambey Tashi who had also served as civil aviation parliamentary secretary.
Jambey Tashi was responding to questions during an exclusive interview with Arunachal24 on usefulness of helicopter services particularly during massive anti- CAA ( Citizens Amended Act ) protest in Assam.
Many state people were stranded in various parts of Assam during the stir and the people-centric GoAP directed civil aviation department to engage the helicopters to rescue them to end family tension about their safety, he said.
One MI-172 helicopter of Sky One Airways Pvt Ltd flew twice daily on Dec 13, 14 & 15 along Naharalguna-Guwahati-Tawang-Guwahati-Naharlagun routes though its two choppers are in Vietnam for maintenance.
The Vell-412 helicopter was deployed at Mohanbari on those days flew stranded Arunachalees to Pasighat, Aalo, Mechuka, Anini, Roing, Dambuk, Tali, Ziro, Daporijo, Miao, Vijaynagar, Yingkiong, Tuting and Koloaring, Nharlagun Helipad sources told this daily.
Such air services in the state are serving as panacea for which the central Govt deserves kudos for its wisdom to introduce helicopter service with 75% subsidized rate as this vast hilly state still lacks road in border areas, he said citing the example of Taksing in Upper Subansiri district for which the 2,000-km Arunachal Frontier Highway or Mago-Thingbu-Vijaynagar Highway along the China border has been proposed. It may be mentioned here that Arunachal shares 1126-km of total 3488-km border with China.
It is worth mentioning here that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the initiative of then chief minister Dorjee Khandu had announced massive financial package, including helicopter service, the biggest in the post-independence era, for the state on 31.01.08. The subsidy was offered by Union Ministry of Home Affairs that too first in the country.
Though chopper flies on the basis of carrying capacity weight for its rotors to move but Helipad sources complained that many passengers insist on more than 10-kg allowed weight limit which may deprive carrying essentials, men and machines and patients.
It would be imprudent not to mention famous federal pilot Biju Pattanaik, who had founded Kalinga Airlines in Calcutta in 1947 as its chief pilot. The airline was nationalised and merged into Indian Airlines in 1953 but restarted operations as a non-scheduled charter operator in 1957 and flew passengers and cargo until 1972. Kalinga Airlines had maintained the lifeline of the NEFA during 1956 to 1957 by flying from DST Rowriah (Jorhat) to drop rations throughout the NEFA and at times landing at Anini and Ziro.