Considering the recent natural calamities and the state government’s problem to reach out to the affected areas, the West Bengal government has decided to develop four permanent helipads in South 24 Parganas district so that the administration can expedite the evacuation of people affected by natural disasters.
In July this year, the district magistrate of South 24 Parganas, P. Ulaganathan, sent a proposal to the transport department to develop four permanent helipads in the district.
In it, he said, South 24 Parganas have witnessed multiple major natural disasters in the past few years and it becomes difficult for the administration to evacuate people immediately due lack of infrastructure.
He proposed to develop four helipads in the district which will not only help in evacuating people, but also help in reaching out to the distressed people of the neighbouring districts like North 24 Parganas and East and West Midnapore as well.
Sources in the state secretariat said that Chief Secretary Harikrishna Dwivedi has given a go-ahead to build the helipads as per the proposal. Necessary instructions have been given to the Public Works Department for the construction of the helipads. These helipads will be constructed in Gosaba, Patharpratima, Kakdwip and Diamond Harbour-2 blocks.
According to administration sources, six acres of land have also been identified for the construction of the four helipads. It has been decided that the helipads will be set up at Gosaba gram panchayat for the farmers’ market, Pathar Pratima Gopalnagar gram panchayat area, Srinagar gram panchayat area of Kakdwip and Mathur gram panchayat area of Diamond Harbor-2.
It may be mentioned here that in May 2020, severe cyclonic storm Amphan struck West Bengal. The district also suffered when severe cyclone Yaas hit the coast of Odisha. In both the cyclones, large areas of South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore were severely affected.
Sources in the state government said that the rescue operations were delayed because the helicopters had to take off from Kolkata.
“If there were helipads in the district, we could have evacuated the people faster. We could have given them better medical facilities. So, the construction of helipads will help in better disaster management,” an official said.