Inaugurated in January, Sanjauli heliport in the suburbs of Shimla is yet to become fully operational. It seems flights are unlikely to take off or land on the heliport anytime soon.
During question hour in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Himachal Pradesh MP Indu Bala Goswami sought to know when the air services from the Sanjauli heliport, Shimla, would be started, and whether the Centre has given its nod for the start of operations.
In his reply, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen V K Singh submitted that the Ministry of Civil Aviation launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) on 21 October 2016, to stimulate regional air connectivity and make air travel affordable to the masses.
Sanjauli Heliport has been developed by the State Government. Airport Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, has awarded routes to connect Sanjauli Heliport to Selected Airline Operator (SAO) to provide connectivity in hilly terrain and far-flung areas.
The development work of the Sanjauli heliport has been completed.
“The state government has filed an application on July 8, 2022, for the issue of operational authorisation with all requisite Manuals / Documents with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” informed Gen V K Singh.
He added, “The DGCA has communicated certain observations to the Government of Himachal Pradesh and the Consultant for the project. On the readiness of the Heliport, SAO is obligated to commence RCS flight operations on a UDAN-route within a period of six months from the issuance of the Letter of Award or within two months from the readiness of airport, whichever is later, unless any extension is granted by the Implementing Agency.”
The three-storey heliport near Sanjauli-Dhalli bye-pass was inaugurated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on 12 January.
It was constructed at a cost of Rs 18 crore including Rs 12.13 crore provided by the Centre under Himalayan Circuit of the Swadesh Darshan programme and Rs 6 Crore under UDAN-2 of the Central Government.
Besides promoting tourism and economic activities, the heliport is aimed at facilitating connectivity, rescue operations, health emergency operations, and in transporting patients to big hospitals in emergency situations.