Flying to Macchil yatra goes cheaper

SRINAGAR: The rates for helicopter services from Gulabgarh to Machail and back have been substantially reduced for the upcoming Machail Yatra scheduled to be held from August 1st to 31, an official spokesman said.

(The Machail village lives in clouds virtually. At the farther end is the temple where the yatra concludes)

Pilgrims who are above 12 yrs of age  shall have to pay Rs. 1550 while the pilgrims aged between 2 to 12 years shall have to pay Rs 1400 whereas the child up to two years shall be flown free of cost by these operators.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the fares during the present year are the lowest since the inception of Heli Services for this Yatra. During the year 2016, the tariff per ticket per side was Rs 2000. In 2015 the tariff was Rs. 2400 per ticket and the year 2014, every ticket cost Rs.2700/-. This reduction in tariff will surely be a source of satisfaction for the pilgrims by the heli travel on this long journey becoming for more affordable than the previous years.

Pertinent to mention that in order to finalise heli tenders for 2017 Yatra Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Dr M.K.Bhandari had constituted a Committee to evaluate and finalise award of contract to helicopter operators for Shri Machail Mata Yatra 2017. Six helicopter companies participated in the tender process. M/s Pawan hans Ltd and M/s UTair India Pvt Ltd who have been awarded contract through a transparent bidding process, shall be operating their helicopters to ferry pilgrims from Gulabgarh to Machail and back.

The heli services have been offered by the Government to facilitate the pilgrims in the rough and difficult terrain of Kishtwar valley. It will be easy for the old age, children and even sick people to pay obeisance to the Holy deity. It will also help in relief and rescue operations in case of any emergency.

The operators have been finalised through a transparent tender process duly evaluated and finalised by the Committee comprising of Commissioner Civil Aviation, J&K, S. Katoch, Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, G.N. Balwan, Additional Commissioner, Jammu, Anu Radha Rani, Deputy CEO, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Amit Vermani and District Treasury Officer, Kishtwar, Irfan Majid.

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