New Delhi, July 15: Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) on Saturday said in a notification that passengers would now be charged for availing helicopter services during rescue operations. The notification said that the charges for the normal passengers availing helicopters in Pithoragarh during rescue operations at the time of disaster, will be fixed Rs. 3,100 (including GST) per person, ANI reported. This is the first time any state has issued an order to charge people during rescue operations.

Further, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also approved the decision to charge passengers to make use of helicopters at the time of disaster. The notification also directed that the charges should be implemented with immediate effect.

Notably, in less than a year in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttarakhand has spent nearly Rs 6 crore on flying chief minister and other VIPs to various locations, an RTI reply revealed. CM Trivendra Singh Rawat made 93 air trips, including 47 by state-owned aeroplane, and 45 by state-owned chopper, according to the information obtained by RTI activist Hemant Singh Goniyo.

The information was provided by UCADA but it did not specify the amount spent on arranging rides for the chief minister, the Hindustan Times reported. The RTI reply revealed that Rs 5.85 crore was paid to various private service providers for arranging copters for VIPs that include the chief minister, governor, ministers and other VIPs.

(With agency inputs)