To increase the footfall of tourists and achieve the target of tourist arrivals to around five crore annually, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu stressed strengthening the air connectivity and said that 16 heliports were being constructed in all the district headquarters including tribal and far-flung areas in a phased manner to facilitate the tourists to access unexplored destinations in no time. He was presiding over a meeting late Friday evening in this regard. A detailed presentation was also given on how to enhance the tourism influx to achieve the desired target.
It was detailed that in the first phase, nine heliports were to be developed including Jaskot in district Hamirpur, Rakkar and Palampur in Kangra, Sultanpur in district Chamba, Manali in Kullu, Jispa, Sissu and Rangreek in Lahaul-Spiti and Sharbo in district Kinnaur. The Chief Minister said that the detailed project reports (DPRs) for the construction of Sultanpur, Rakkar, Palampur, and Jaskot heliports have been received, while for other heliports, the process was underway. Apart from this, the Kangra Airport was being expanded to facilitate high-end tourists.
The Chief Minister informed that in the second phase, the remaining seven heliports would be set up in Pangi and Holi in district Chamba, Auhar in district Bilaspur, Dharkiyari in district Sirmaur, Chanshal in district Shimla, Jankaur-Haar in district Una and Galanag in district Solan. He said that FCA approval for establishing Rakkar heliport has been received and FCA cases of six heliports including Jaskot, Manali, Jispa, Sissu, Rangrik, Pangi, and Holi has been uploaded on the portal.
Once commissioned fully, the heliports will prove to be a boon to the tourism sector of the State. “When the destinations are made easily accessible, many people prefer to travel there thereby giving fillip to the local tourism industry and adding to the economy”, said Sh. Sukhu. Tourism is one of the key sectors for contributing to the economy of the State, besides opening up of employment and self employment opportunities to the local youth, remarked the Chief Minister.
He reiterated that the State Government has decided to make district Kangra as ‘Tourism Capital’ of the State and would spend about Rs. 3000 crore on this mega venture. This initiative will bring many new projects in the times to come.
Revenue Minister, Jagat Singh Negi, Education Minister Rohit Thakur, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Minister Anirudh Singh, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sunder Singh Thakur, Principal Private Secretary to Chief Minister, Vivek Bhatia and other senior officers also attended the meeting.