The flight service between Kolkata-Durgapur-Bagdogra-Cooch Behar has received an immense response as all seats have already been booked for the first day.
The service will begin from December 31. The flight with a capacity of nine passengers will take off from Durgapur at 8.10 am and it will take just 40 minutes to reach Kolkata. The flight will connect Cooch Behar via Bagdogra from the city. The flight for Cooch Behar will take off from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at 9.15 am and land at Cooch Behar at 12.05 pm via Bagdogra.
It may be mentioned that this was a dream project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to connect most parts of north Bengal from Kolkata by flight.
A person needs to reach Kolkata from Cooch Behar just have to spare only 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the destination. The flight will take off from Cooch Behar at 12.25 pm.
In the evening, too, the flight service is available between Kolkata and Durgapur. The flight for Durgapur will take off from Kolkata at 3.35 pm.
The service between Kolkata and Cooch Behar will be available on four days in a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But one can avail the service between Bagdogra and Kolkata on all the seven days a week.
One needs to pay just Rs 4,000 to fly from Kolkata to Cooch Behar and vice versa. In total, three flights will be kept ready. In case any technical snag develops in one plane, then the other one will be used. Thus there is no question of flights getting cancelled.
The state government will provide a viable gap funding maximum of around Rs 29 lakh every month. The amount of funding will go down with the increase in number of passengers. The rest 50 per cent of the total cost of the operation will be invested by BAPL, the company that is in charge of the operation of the flight.
Alapan Bandhyopadhyay, principal secretary, the state transport department, said: “Just imagine how beneficial the flight service will be for a person, who needs to be shifted immediately to Kolkata for a better treatment.”
The state government has also taken initiative to start flight service from Kolkata to Malda and Balurghat. Discussions with the Airport Authorities of India in this regard are almost complete. Just the state Public Works Department will have to spend a bit for repairing of the airstrips.
It may be mentioned that initiative was taken to make such facilities available in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The attempts had, however, failed. “But I am excited to see the success of the service on its first day in West Bengal. I am really very hopeful about the success of the flight service here and we will do everything possible for its success,” said Lokesh Bardia, director of SWAPL, a company that will be providing a part of the service in collaboration with BAPL.