The Union Ministry has granted clearances for the construction of a heliport in Dharamshala, a move aimed at enhancing air connectivity, boosting tourism, and strengthening evacuation and rescue capabilities during natural disasters. This significant development comes as part of the state government’s broader plan to establish heliports in all 12 districts, with Kangra, in particular, being allocated two such facilities.
In a pivotal move to improve connectivity and disaster response capabilities in the region, the Union Ministry has granted clearances for the establishment of a heliport in Dharamshala. This initiative is expected to not only bolster air connectivity and promote tourism but also provide crucial support for evacuation and rescue operations during natural disasters.
The proposed heliport, located in Rakkar village, Dharamshala, has received in-principle approval from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in accordance with the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (FCA). The Forest Conservation Act mandates clearance for converting forest land for non-forest purposes, and this approval marks a significant milestone in the project’s progress.
Kangra Deputy Commissioner, Nipun Jindal, emphasized the importance of this approval, stating, “The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granted the in-principle approval on August 28, which is also the stage-1 clearance, after the local administration addressed the objections raised by the ministry on the project proposal.”
With the stage-1 clearance secured, the project is now poised to move forward. The next crucial step involves obtaining the stage-2 or formal clearance under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), after which construction work on the heliport will commence promptly.
The significance of this heliport project lies in its multifaceted benefits for the region. The enhanced air connectivity it will offer is expected to draw more tourists to Dharamshala, further boosting the local economy. Additionally, the heliport’s strategic location and infrastructure will play a vital role in facilitating swift evacuation and rescue operations during natural disasters, potentially saving lives and minimizing damage.
The estimated cost of the Dharamshala heliport project is approximately Rs 6 crore, underscoring the government’s commitment to improving transportation and disaster response infrastructure in the region.
Beyond Dharamshala, the state government has ambitious plans to establish heliports in the headquarters of all 12 districts, with Kangra being allocated two such facilities. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of enhancing connectivity and accessibility across the state of Himachal Pradesh.
In addition to the Dharamshala project, another heliport is proposed for CSK-Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University in Palampur. According to Deputy Commissioner Jindal, the land required for this project has already been transferred to the Tourism Department for the development of the heliport. The Palampur heliport project is estimated to cost approximately Rs 9 crore, and there are plans to construct a hangar at the site, further enhancing its capabilities.
The approval of the Dharamshala heliport and the broader plan to establish heliports across Himachal Pradesh reflect the government’s commitment to improving transportation infrastructure and disaster response capabilities. These initiatives are expected to have a far-reaching impact on the region, fostering economic growth, promoting tourism, and ensuring a more efficient response to emergencies. As these projects move forward, they are likely to position Himachal Pradesh as a model for connectivity and disaster preparedness in India.