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Featured Image: Representational photo. 

By A Newsman

Midnapore, 23 December: WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today inaugurated a weekly helicopter service between Digha and Kolkata.

Located at a distance of about 186 km from Kolkata, Digha is a famous sea beach destination in East Midnapore district and is very popular as a weekend getaway.

The Chief Minister, who has been in an administrative tour of West and East Midnapore districts for the past three days, took a helicopter ride from the Digha helipad to Kolkata around 1 pm this afternoon, thus marking the start of the service.

The regular weekly helicopter service will commence on 26 December, and from that day onward, the service will be operated between Kolkata and Digha once a week. A private company, ParAir, will operate the helicopter service and tickets can be booked on its website www.parairconnect.com.

From Behala Flying Club in Kolkata, the eight-seater helicopter will leave at 10.30 am every Saturday; on the return leg, the chopper will take off from Digha at 2 pm the same day.

“It will take about 45 minutes to commute between Kolkata and Digha, and the fare will be around Rs 2,000 (per flyer). This will boost tourism in Digha further,” the Chief Minister said adding that the state government has plans to development more helipads across West Bengal.

“We will develop 22 helipads across the state; six to seven are already there. We have discussed this with DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation),” she said.

While potential tourists are upbeat by the start of the Kolkata – Digha helicopter service; several of them rued the timing.

“Usually, people visit Digha on weekends: ideally reaching Digha on Saturday morning and returning to Kolkata either on Sunday evening or Monday morning. Hence, the return helicopter service from Digha on Saturday afternoon will not be of much use to tourists. No tourists stay an entire week at Digha,” said Anisha Roy, who is employed with a private IT firm at Salt Lake Sector V.