Sunday, May 07, 2017

DGCA team arrives in Kedar to inspect choppers

Dehradun: Days after the permission granted to 14 heli-charter companies to operate flights to Kedarnath was cancelled by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a team from the aviation authority arrived in the Kedar valley on Sunday to conduct inspection of choppers, helipads and related infrastructure.
The team will submit a report by Monday after which a decision will be taken on resuming chopper services to Kedarnath.
With the start of the yatra season, the state government had given licences to 14 heli-charter companies to operate choppers with the provision that they would comply with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines. The DGCA, however, cancelled the permission saying that it was difficult to monitor whether the guidelines were being followed or not.
Chief secretary S Ramaswamy in a meeting with chopper operators and scientists from Wildlife Institute of India earlier this week said that choppers would have to adhere to the norms laid down by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and fly 600 metres above the ground. This limit will not be applicable during take off or landing.
It was also decided that choppers will have to install the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) will monitor the height the helicopters are flying at. Since it will not be possible for choppers to maintain a height of 600 metres from Sirsi helipad which is close to the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), it was decided that the helicopters will fly away from KWLS and then return after gaining a height of 600 metres to fly over the sanctuary.
07/05/17 Seema Sharma/Times of India