Shillong, July 25 (IANS) State-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. would resume its services from Thursday in the mountainous Meghalaya state after a gap of 15 months, an official said Wednesday.
"Pawan Hans will resume its service in Meghalaya from tomorrow (Thursday) after it was selected in the bid process to run the air service in the state," state Transport Minister Abu Taher Mondal told IANS.
He said the Meghalaya government had Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. for operating a helicopter service.
To mark the resuming of the helicopter service in the state, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma would Thursday fly by twin-engine Pawan Hans helicopter to Shillong from Guwahati international airport.
Mondal said Pawan Hans would provide Meghalaya with a double-engine helicopter of the latest technology to ferry passengers on the Shillong-Tura-Guwahati-Shillong route.
Asked if other helicopter service providers participated in the bidding process, the transport Minister said: "Initially, four bidders came forward and sought clarification in the matter, but they never appeared again."
Therefore, he said the government selected Pawan Hans after meeting the bidding requirements.
On April 30, 2011, the Meghalaya government suspended operations of the state-run Pawan Hans chopper service, hours after a helicopter carrying the then Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, along with four others, crashed.
In September 2004, ten people, including a cabinet minister and two legislators from Meghalaya, were also killed in a similar crash that took place in Kyrdem Khla, Ri-Bhoi district
Chopper service was introduced in Meghalaya in March 1988, but the service was suspended after it was found financially unviable.
The government re-introduced the helicopter service in 1999 with the union home ministry agreeing to provide 50 percent subsidy for the service. The state government contributed another 25 percent subsidy.