Itanagar: After a gap of 31 months, chopper service was re-introduced in Tawang district, bordering China with the Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) resuming its passenger services between Naharlagun, Guwahati and Tawang.
The Pawan Hans, which commenced yesterday, will operate twice a week (Monday and Friday) on the route, official sources said today.
Tawang deputy commissioner Abhishek Dev, zila parishad chairman Jambey Tsering, Commander of 190 Mountain Brigade of the Indian Army Brigadier Ashok Singh along with host of civil and army officials welcomed the crew members and the passengers of the inaugural flight at the Ugyen Sanpo Heliport in Tawang yesterday, sources said.
"With the resumption of the helicopter services the inflow of tourists in the district will increase which will give a boost to the local economy," the DC said.
He said that the services would also come as a relief to the residents of the district suffering from major ailments who earlier had to cover long distance by road to get treatment.
A special prayer was also performed at the Helipad by the monks from the Tawang Monastery for safe and smooth operation of flights.
The Pawan Hans helicopter services in the district remained suspended from May 5, 2011, following two back-to-back crashes.
On April 19, 2011, the MI-172 helicopter with 23 passengers on board the Guwahati-Tawang sector crashed at Tawang helipad while landing killing 17 people.
Later in the same year a chopper crashed at Luguthang near Tawang on April 30 claiming the lives of five people, including the then Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu.
The state government had resumed the PHHL chopper services in the state in January 2013 which was flagged off by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki at Naharlagun helipad.
However, the services were later introduced only for eastern sectors in Naharlagun-Guwahati and Naharlagun-Mohanbari routes.