Ministry of Civil Aviation(MoCA) today operationalised the first-ever helicopter services from Dehradun’s Sahastradhara helipad to Gauchar, and Chinyalisaur under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN) of Government of India. The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat, Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, MoCA and other officials from MoCA and State Government inaugurated the route. The inauguration of the helicopter routes in the Uttarakhand region is in line with the objective of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to enhance the aerial connectivity of the hilly areas in the country.
MoCA awarded the Sahastradhara-Gauchar-Chinyalisaur route to Heritage Aviation under the UDAN 2 bidding process. Heritage Aviation will operate twice daily helicopter services from Sahastradhara to Gauchar and Chinyalisaur. For the Heli services, Viability Gap Funding (VGF) is provided under UDAN to keep the fares affordable for the common people. The State Government of Uttarakhand is also providing additional incentives to make the scheme more attractive.
The helicopter services from the Sahastradhara helipad to Gauchar and Chinyalisaur had been the long pending demand of the people residing in the hilly areas. The services on this route will boost the tourism sector in the Uttarakhand region and will also assist the Chaar Dhaam Yatra pilgrims as Gauchar is en route to Badrinath and Chinyalisaur is en route towards Gangotri in the Uttarkashi district. Heli services under UDAN are currently being operationalised between Chandigarh to Shimla, Shimla to Dharamshala and Shimla to Kullu.
With the commencement of the Sahastradhara-Gauchar-Chinyalisaur route, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has operationalized 260 routes under UDAN. Furthermore, Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) is also going to commence the operations under UDAN from Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun to New Tehri, Srinagar (Chamoli, UK) and Gauchar. With an aim to efficiently connect high priority regions (NER, Hilly States, J&K, Ladakh, and Islands) for the masses, MoCA recently invited the 4th round of bidding under UDAN which is under progress.