Helicopter service between Durgapur and Kolkata may begin soon. The Bengal government, in arrangement with Pawan Hans Ltd, will soon start weekly helicopter services from Kolkata to Durgapur and back. The services could commence as early as the second week of December.
However, not only Durgapur, but four other destinations of Bengal will also be connected with Kolkata by helicopter services. They are, Gangasagar, Santiniketan, Malda and Balurghat.
The services will be introduced on a pilot basis and will be regularised if there is a positive response, said a government official.
The government will put to use a seven-seat chopper it has hired from Pawan Hans.
Bengal government has to pay Pawan Hans Rs 50 lakh for 40 flying hours a month, but in practice the government uses it for barely two-three hours. Keeping this in view, it has been decided that keeping five flying hours reserved for government use, the other 35 hours will be used for the passenger service.
The helicopter services, to be operated from Behala Flying Club in Kolkata, will fly on a weekly schedule. The kolkata-Durgapur service will operate every Monday at one-way fare of INR 4,200.
The Kolkata-Gangasagar service will operate every Sunday at a one-way fare of Rs 1,500, Kolkata-Santiniketan every Saturday at Rs 1,500, Kolkata-Malda and Kolkata-Balurghat every Wednesday at Rs 1,300 and Rs 1,500, respectively.
There is a high sense of skepticism among Durgapur residents as to whether the planned helicopter service between Durgapur and Kolkata can continue because of the high price tag.