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Chopper service from Lamka-Aizawl from Sept 27

Trial landing of the proposed helicopter service (file photo)

Aizawl: The much-awaited helicopter service connecting Lamka (Churachandpur) hill district in Manipur and Aizawl is set to be launched from the Imphal International Airport on Wednesday, officials said on Sunday.

The helicopter service will be launched under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India Helicopter Scheme in the Northeast and the press release issued by Dr Nivedita Lairemlakpam, Manipur’s Director of Transport department on Sunday said that the helicopter service will be launched on Wednesday subject to weather condition.

However, Principal Consultant of the Mizoram Civil Aviation Wing Commander Joe Lalhmingliana said that the Manipur government has not given any detail information till date.

“While the Manipur government proposed two flights in a week, we submitted proposal for five flights in a week,” Lalhmingliana said, adding that they are yet to receive response on the matter.

He said that in the video conference held between chief secretaries of the two neighbouring states earlier, details to be intimated between the two governments have been discussed but no response have been received on a number of issues.

Besides the frequency of the flights was not being responded, the Manipur Transport department is yet to send helicopter tickets and boarding passes, he said, adding that there has been no official intimation on the departure and arrival times in Lamka and Aizawl as sought for from the Manipur government.

“Unless we know the time of departure from Lamka and arrival in Aizawl and vice versa, it will be impossible to make arrangements for deployment of ground handling personnel at Mualpui helipad,” the Principal Consultant said.

Mualpui helipad is situated at Salem veng neighbourhood in southern part of Aizawl.

According to the press release issued by Manipur’s Director of Transport, the helicopter fare from Lamka to Mualpui helipad in Aizawl will be Rs. 4,500 while the fare from Mualpui to Lamka via Lengpui airport will be Rs 6,000.

Return flight from Mualpui to Lamka via Lengpui airport is necessitated by the refueling facility only available at the lone Lengpui airport in the state. 

Once in place, helicopter service between Lamka in ethnic strife-hit Manipur and Aizawl will come a long way to ease connectivity between people of Mizoram and their kindred brothers in Manipur tribal hill areas, especially people who want to travel to Mizoram or via Aizawl for medical treatment.

The service will help people avoiding 370 kilometre long arduous journey in the dilapidated road conditions between Aizawl and Lamka. 

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Zoram Chronicle