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Avoid the chaotic streets: heliport on the way,three sites shortlisted

The financial capital may finally be able to beat its infamous traffic snarls with the state government shortlisting three sites for its ambitious heliport plans,to offer dedicated chopper services to India Inc.

Written by Swapnil Rawal | Mumbai |
May 11, 2009 5:00:24 am

The financial capital may finally be able to beat its infamous traffic snarls with the state government shortlisting three sites for its ambitious heliport plans,to offer dedicated chopper services to India Inc.

Taking a cue from Manhattan,the state government recently shortlisted three locations for the project. “Nariman Point,Worli and Navi Mumbai have been picked as potential sites for heliports. These sites will now be evaluated by independent consultants who will be appointed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority,” said T C Benjamin,Principal Secretary (Urban Development Department).

The other sites considered for the project include Backbay Reclamation,NCPA,Bandra Kurla Complex and Wadala Truck Terminal,recommended by an inter-departmental group of secretaries of the government. The Pawan Hans Helicopter Ltd has already prepared an initial assessment.

These heliports will be constructed on a build-operate-transfer model as the state government does not have the requisite technical knowledge to operate the service. These heliports will be able to handle three to four landings and takeoffs at a time and operate any number of services in a day.

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According to government officials,the objective is to have a point-to-point ferry service to beat the heavy road traffic. The idea had initially met with objections from residents of Nariman Point,but the government is keen to push it through. The passenger chopper services will serve not only the head honchos of big companies but also commuters,Benjamin said.

During peak hours,it takes nearly two hours to reach Nariman Point from the airport,which is equivalent to a Mumbai-Bangalore flight time. “The services will provide a respite from traffic snarls. It can also be useful in emergency situations like floods,” he said. The chopper service will also be used for evacuations during medical emergencies. The state was earlier working on a heliport project on a government-owned plot in Cuffe Parade but was stopped following a court order on environmental and sound pollution.

ROAD UPDATE
* Lalbaug flyover’s (above) demolition nearly completed on Sunday; just 5% work remaining

* Two southbound lanes opened to traffic on Sunday evening; northbound lanes to be opened on Monday.

* Portion of the median being cleaned and barricaded for future piling for the new,longer flyover from Bharatmata junction to Jijamata Udyan Piling work for new flyover to begin after monsoon

* Traffic on Peddar Road to be restored on two ways Tuesday

* 95% work on replacement of sewer pipelines done,BMC hoping to finish work by Monday

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