Goa Tourism has decided to go ahead with helicopter joy rides in the state amid opposition from various quarters, but cancelled its formal launch slated today.
The helicopter commercial joy rides, as a part of a tourism deal signed with Pawan Hans company, will commence in the state soon, a senior official of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) told Goa Chronicle.
“The scheduled launch of helicopter rides has been cancelled as Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma could not come due to his pre-occupations,” he said.
“From tomorrow or day after, we will start the commercial operations. This is a demand of the tourism industry to get high-end tourism,” he said.
The GTDC has entered into an agreement with Pawan Hans company to fly Bell-206 helicopters, which will take off from Panaji and land at Aguada helipad across Mandovi river. The helipad was constructed during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGUM) in 1983 for emergency evacuations.
“The opposition to the project is unsubstantiated. If required we will take police security and go ahead with it,” a senior official said, on condition of anonymity.
The protesters, led by BJP MLA Michael Lobo and Congress spokesman Agnelo Fernandes, had earlier decided to stage protests on the helipad at Aguada on the arrival of the inaugural flight.
“We had decided not to allow the helicopter to land,” Lobo told PTI today.
Fernandes said local guest house owners had expressed apprehensions that landing of helicopter will create noise pollution around, besides affecting flora and fauna on the plateau where the helipad is located. .