NEW DELHI: Will you travel for two hours in the bustling city traffic for a 20-minute chopper ride and pay `5,000 only to get a bird’s eye view of a TV tower, the Japanese Park and Akshardham Temple? The Union government is trying to convince people just to do that. Naturally, it has found no takers.
The Rohini heliport, which started operations in March this year, has failed to take off. The heliport, built at a cost of Rs 100 crore and operated by Pawan Hans, has turned into a parking lot and workshop for choppers as it has failed to attract people for the ‘Delhi Darshan’ ride.
Now, officials are singing a different tune and claim that ‘Delhi Darshan’ was not the reason the heliport, located in Rohini Sector 36, was opened. Officials admitted that the project was struggling to take-off due to multiple reasons.
The first problem is poor connectivity. It takes over 90 minutes to reach the heliport from ITO while from Gurgaon and Faridabad, it takes around two hours. There is hardly any public transport. The nearest Metro station is about six km away.
A senior heliport management official said the Delhi Darshan rides are available only on Saturdays and Sundays as there is hardly any footfall during the weekdays. “Usually, we start the session by 10am and end it by 1.30pm. The number of rides also depends on the availability of helicopters,” he said.
A Pawan Hans official claimed 30-40 people use the Delhi Darshan ride every week. Recently officials met Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and requested him to speed up the construction of UER-II, a highway about 100 meters away from the heliport. “We are hopeful that after the construction of UER-II, footfall will increase,” the official added.
Another reason for the project being a non-starter is that the choppers do not fly beyond Akshardham Temple. Flying of tourist choppers in a commercial fly zone is not permitted. The chopper also cannot fly over the Lutyens’ Zone as it is a restricted area. The only ‘tourist spots’ that a flyer can catch a glimpse of are Pritam Pura TV tower, Majnu ka Tila and Akshardham Temple.
Route: Pritam Pura Tower, Majnu Ka Tila, Red Fort, Rajghat, Akshardham Temple
Cost of the ride: Rs 2,499 for 10 minutes and Rs 4,999 for 20 minutes
Footfall: 30-40 people take
chopper ride every week
A chopper can seat up to five people
Can be booked through
Built with an investment of Rs100 crore
Terminal building has a capacity of 150 passengers
Parking capacity for 16 helicopters
Nine parking bays
Spread over 25 acres