Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has directed the officers to speed up the construction work of five heliports in the state — including at Kangnidhar in Mandi district, SASE (Manali) in Kullu district, Baddi in Solan district, and at Shimla and Rampur in Shimla district — so that the people including tourists could get their benefits at the earliest.

He was presiding over a meeting regarding development of heliports under RCS UDAN-2, here today.

Thakur said that the state government had already awarded the works of Kangnidhar, Baddi and Rampur heliports while works on Shimla and SASE (Manali) heliports were nearing completion.

He directed the executing agencies for completion of all these heliports within stipulated time period as these would not only provide better facilities to high end tourists but would also give new fillip to the tourism activities. He said that the state government would provide required security for the proposed heliports as per the requirements of Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The chief minister said that additional land had been identified for Baddi heliport for additional Final Approach and Take Off Areas (FATO) and bigger passenger terminal buildings. He said that being situated in the industrial belt of the state, this heliport would facilitate the entrepreneurs visiting this area. The heliport is also of immense importance as it is situated near Chandigarh international airport.

Thakur said that the state government also intends to construct three new FATOs at Kangnidhar while two FATOs had already been constructed. These FATOs would be used for helicopter parking and also for the visit of VVIPs as per their visit protocols.

He said that the state government had already carried geo-technical study and structure consultancy for stabilization of cutting works at Kangnidhar.

The work on Shimla heliport was nearing completion and trial landing had been carried out on this heliport, said the Chief Minister adding that the state government intended to complete this heliport at the earliest so that helicopters operation could be started under RCS UDAN-2. He said that this heliport being situated in the heart of the city would become popular amongst the tourists visiting the state capital.

Thakur said that the state government has taken up the matter regarding use of SASE heliport under UDAN-2 with the Ministry of Defence. The issue regarding providing basic facilities like passenger terminal building etc. it has been taken with the SASE and DRDO authorities.

He said that all the existing airports at Shimla, Kangra and Kullu were being expanded to facilitate landing of bigger aeroplanes. He said that runway of Shimla airport would be increased by another 300 meters which would facilitate landing and take-off of bigger aeroplanes. This would provide better air connectivity to the state capital.