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Chopper service restarted

Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio alighting from the King Rotors and Air Charter Private Limited helicopter at Assam Rifles helipad, Kohima, Monday. (DIPR)
Correspondent/Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, FEB 1 (NPN):
Published on 2 Feb. 2010 12:39 AM IST
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Thiruvanathapuram-based King Rotors and Air Charter Private Limited operated the first helicopter service with a flight from Dimapur to Kohima with chief minister, Neiphiu Rio traveling in the inaugural flight from Dimapur airport to Kohima Assam Rifles helipad, Monday. The six-seater Agusta-109 Italy made took approximately nine minutes time to reach Kohima from Dimapur. Alighting from the navy blue chopper in the Kohima Assam Rifles helipad, the chief minister told newsmen that it was a “great day” for the state. He said the helicopter service will be operated by a new company with its fleet to be stationed at Dimapur. Rio said the commercial operation would commence from February 8 after state Transport and Communication department fix time schedule and rates . The chief minister said as per the arrangement with King Rotors the helicopter fleet would be stationed in Nagaland itself. Besides the emergency requirements by the government, with re-introduction of helicopter services, VIPs, government officials, tourists and general public could be able to save valuable time although the people felt that the services are costly, Rio said. Rio pointed out that VVIPS wishing to travel long distances by road involved a lot of expenditure and administrative effort in the form of road patrol and convoy besides is time. Giving a brief account of chopper services in Nagaland, Rio informed that the first chopper service started with Pawan Hans way back in 1980, but discontinued after a fatal crash near Kohima. He said that with latest advancement the need to re-introduce chopper services was felt and for which the state government approached the Government of India. After agreeing to the request of the Government of Nagaland, the Government of India agreed to provide 70% subsidy and 30% to the borne by the state government. The Pawan Hans service was again re-introduced in 2007 for a contract of two years. The contract, was extended for another two months ended in January 2010 and so chopper service with King Rotors was re-introduced from February 1 2010, he said. Nagaland Home minister Imkong Imchen and managing director of King Rotors Capt K N G Nair also accompanied the chief minister at the inaugural flight. Capt Nair later told newsmen that as soon as demand picks up, the company would introduce another 13- seater chopper in Nagaland. He said King Rotors procured permission from Civil Aviation ministry to operate three fleets of chopper in the state. Capt Nair said King Rotors would introduce a few fixed winged smaller aircrafts in the next few months. Nair who was in the Air Force in Nagaland from 1977-83 said that he was thrilled to be back in Nagaland. Earlier, in the morning before taking off to Kohima, Rio while addressing media persons at Dimapur airport . He said the re-introduction of chopper services in Nagaland would change the standard and mindset of the people of the State. (With DIPR, PTI inputs)

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