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Much-awaited Lamka-Aizawl air connectivity materialises

Helicopter from Lamka trial lands at Lengpui Airport on Thursday

Aizawl: In a trial landing, helicopter service from Lamka (Churachandpur) in Manipur landed at the lone Lengpui airport near Aizawl at around 11.20 AM on Thursday and again took off for Lamka at 11.30AM, officials of the Lengpui airport said.

The helicopter service in the sector is to be run by M/s Global Vectra Helicopter Ltd, which will place VT-GVA/BELL 412(H) helicopter into service between Lamka and Aizawl if the trial landing and takeoff is found to be technically satisfactory, airport officials said.

Capt. Bipin Bonde and Capt. N.S. Panwar were the only crews who landed the passenger-less chopper at Lengpui on Thursday.  

Principal Consultant of Mizoram Civil Aviation, Wing Commander Joe Lalhmingliana said that trial landing for the proposed helicopter service between Kangpokpi and Dimapur will also be undertaken on Friday.

“After submission of the report by the pilots to the Manipur government, and if the flights are found to be satisfactory, arrangements would be made for launching of the helicopter service. The frequency of flights, on which days, amount of fares and other logistics have to be decided before launching the service,” Lalhmingliana said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has given permission to commence interstate helicopter service between Lamka (Churachandpur) and Aizawl on Monday.

The helicopter service between Lamka and Imphal, commenced earlier after the ethnic strife in the neighbouring state was rendered almost redundant as there has been geographic and demographic division was already in place with the majority Meitei people not daring to enter ethnic Mizo inhabited areas in the Manipur hills and vice versa.

Delegation of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) who went to Delhi to hold talks with Union Home Minister during the first part of August had to endure 370 kilometres arduous travel by road from Lamka to Aizawl on August 6 and took a flight from the lone Lengpui airport near Aizawl to Delhi via Guwahati.

One of the ITLF leaders said that travelling to Imphal by helicopter flight from Lamka would be like committing a suicide in the current situation and called Imphal as the ‘valley of death’ for ethnic Mizos.

He said that helicopter service between Lamka and Aizawl is welcomed as it can also be very useful for ferrying sick and injured people from the Manipur hill areas to Mizoram.

The ITLF delegation urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the helicopter service between Lamka and Aizawl during the latter’s visit to Lamka and reminded him during their recent visit to Delhi, he added. 

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Zoram Chronicle