Helicopter service may soon invade Manipur skies

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IMPHAL, Sep 1: Introduction of helicopter services in the state of Manipur is on the cards. In this regard a high state-level meeting on  August 18 chaired by V Vumlunmang, IAS, Commissioner (Home), Government of Manipur discussed the helicopter service as per the follow up instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs’ to the state government on the  feasibility of covering routes including Imphal-Tamenglong-Jiribam-Parbung-CCpur-Imphal and vice versa and Imphal-Moreh-Imphal-Dimapur-Imphal and vice versa.

According to a highly placed official source, during the recent official meeting the commissioner home categorically explained that the meeting was to examine the feasibility of introducing helicopter services in the state and to sort out problems on furnishing of a concrete proposal to MHA.

The official source mentioned that keeping in view the passenger amenities and security, the helipads would be kept at Imphal Airport for Imphal, 11AR Helipad in Tamenglong headquarter, Jiribam High School ground for Jiribam and 31 AR helipad for Moreh. Besides the meeting also decided to accord security protection to these helipads as per projection by IGP (AP/Ops), Manipur for the  deployment of one company each security personnel at every helipad along with 10 personnel of CID (SB) for frisking and checking duties and 15 personnel of civil police for access point.

The official introduction of the helicopter services in the state will be soon after the  approval of the cabinet meeting the official source added.
 It may be mentioned that the MHA in compliance to the proposal of the state government for introducing helicopter services in the state, made a positve reply to the state government by giving a suggestion that M/s. Pawan Hans Ltd. may provide helicopter on the same pattern and on subsidy basis as is being supported by the MHA for such services in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya state, and the MHA has also further asked the state government to examine the feasibility of operating the helicopter hired by MHA from Guwahati based on the above routes via Senapati once a week for exclusive use by the state government.

On the other hand, as per the directives from the MHA, a recent high level meeting chaired by the state commissioner Home last month. It was attended by Anand Prakash, IGP (AP/Ops), Manipur, BK Sharma, Director, Transport, Manipur, Ashutosh Kumar Sinha, Special Secretary (Home), Govt. of Manipur, and Rehanuddin Choudhury, Deputy Secretary (Home) Government of Manipur, and taking serious count of the immediate need of implementing the services into the state, it was fruther decided to instruct the state Transport Department and  DCs and SPs concerned of the districts to provide the requisite information.

The MHA wanted information for the implementation of the services into the state in terms of road distances between the mentioned connecting destinations, availability of helicopter and passenger amenities at these places, assessment of the number of passengers who would be willing to avail of the  proposed helicopter service, flying hours involved on each sector and co-ordinate, size, surface, altitude and controlling agencies of helipads, etc.

Only a final decision of the Cabinet is awaited for launching the service in the state, the official source added.

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