Dharamsala (Dec 6): Himachal Pradesh government has finally signed an MoU with three firms to provide inter-state and intra-state helitaxi services to boost high-end tourism in the state, facilitating lakhs of tourists who want to visits landlocked areas and tourists destinations, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds portfolio of state tourism minister, said while replying to a supplementary question by GS Bali (Nagrota-Cong) in the state assembly here today.
Dhumal informed that M/s Mesco Airlines Ltd inked an agreement with state tourism departments to run its services on 19 air routes. He said that Mesco Airlines would provided Shimla-(Annadale)-Chandigarh(airport) helitaxi service for just Rs 4,500 per passenger and vice-versa while the firm agreed to charge Rs 7,500 for Shimla-Dharmsala and Rs 6,000 for Shimla-Kullu routes. State government would continue its services being rendered to tribal belts during winter season on subsidised rates, the CM said.
Tourism department shortlisted the three companies after they quoted their fares for 28 air routes, having fare structure in the range of Rs 2,000 to 13,000. The two others firms are M/s Shiva Heli Service, Khanna (Punjab) and M/s Sim Samm Airways Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, which would confined their services to Manali and Manali, Kullu, Lohaul Spiti and Chamba distinct respectively.
The state witnesses a footfall of about 1.40 crore tourists annually, including about 3-4 lakh foreign tourists. The state has 57 helipads, which are spread between an altitude of 15,00 ft and 15,000ft.