Chandigarh to Shimla in 20 minutes, Jubbarhatti airport to hotel in one hour!

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What’s the whole point? You just need to be plain lucky not to be caught in traffic jams;  taps running without water in Shimla for the last eight days, hotels rationing water to guests

The Hush Post: With air connectivity getting stronger within Indian cities, come June 4, the first Pawan Hans flight will take off from Chandigarh airport for Shimla and will reach there in just 20 minutes. This is the heli-taxi service started by the government of Himachal Pradesh and the country’s national helicopter company Pawan Hans, at present there being no air connectivity between the two state capitals.

The service would be available every Monday and Friday in the beginning. The chopper will have 20 seats and the minimum fare for one passenger will be Rs 2,999 which is an inaugural fare which might be increased later.

“After seeing the response from the public, the frequency of chopper rides will be increased,” a spokesperson of the Chandigarh airport told the media. “One harsh reality the tourists especially might face is that reaching from Chandigarh to Shimla in 20 minutes is great but the journey from Jubbarhatti airport to any Shimla hotel might take over an hour,” said a regular traveller on the Shimla-Chandigarh route.

“A tourist coming from far off might not be aware of the long traffic jams they might have to face to reach the hotel or travel to other local tourist destinations, you just need to be plain lucky for that,” said Bhagwan Singh, a tourist at the Chandigarh Bus stand waiting for the Volvo bus, who visits Shimla every summer.

It will be a twenty-minute morning flight between the two destinations, the chopper will take off from Shimla at 8 am and reach Chandigarh at 8.20 am.  A Himachal Tourism bus will start from Shimla at 6:30 am for fliers to reach the Jubbarhatti airport with a fare of Rs 2,000 per person. For passengers going from Chandigarh to Shimla, the flight will take off at 9 am from Chandigarh airport and reach Shimla at 9.20 am.

In about six month’s time, a flight from the industrial township Baddi to Shimla will also be started keeping in mind the necessity of businessmen who have business interests in the state and have to travel frequently to the state capital for official work. Work on the airstrip at Baddi is on and will be ready soon, Pawn Hans JGM Corporate Affairs Ram Krishan told a news daily.

There are three airports at Gaggal, Shimla and Bhuntar in Himachal and work is in progress at Rampur and Jhakri in Shimla district, Baddi in Solan district, Pandoh in Mandi district and Manali in Kullu district under Udaan-II scheme. The state also has 63 operational helipads across the state, including remote tribal areas.

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