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BBMP to invite firms to build Helipads

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Bengaluru:  Travelling within the city could soon be a breeze for those willing to spend on heli-taxis. After the successful launch of heli-taxi operations between Kempegowda International Airport and Electronics City, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is now gearing up to call for tenders for eight helipads around the city.

These helipads will be built, operated and maintained by private agencies which will pay rent to BBMP. While initially, the helipads have been earmarked only for air ambulances, sources said that commercial operations too will be allowed in due course making heli-taxi operations a possibility.  At present, the city has over 50 helipads, most of them on private properties. However,  most of these are non-functional owing to lack of clearances. BBMP’s plan to develop its own helipads will be the first of its kind in India to be operated by an urban local body. The heli-taxi services at the airport currently cost around `3,000 to `3,500 for a 15-minute flight.

The commencement of operations at the BBMP-owned helipads is likely to lower the costs of heli-taxis further. According to Mayor Sampath Raj, this was announced in their budget.  “Because of assembly polls, we had to stop work. Now that it is lifted, we are preparing to call for tenders. The bidder will be given a long-term contract to  develop and maintain helipad for 5-10 years. BBMP will not spend any money, in fact we will get rent from these bidders. Except the land that belongs to us, we will not have to spend from our pocket,’’ he said. He said services will be restricted to heli ambulance and other emergency services.zFor the location of these helipads,  BBMP is utilising quarries filled with garbage which has a soil cap.

“We want to make it at eight locations, of which we have land at four locations — Bellahalli, Bagaluru, Bingipura and Mylasandra, which were earlier abandoned quarries. We have filled it with waste and it is now levelled with soil capping. These spaces belong to BBMP and will be used. We need 30-foot diameter space. These spaces with the BBMP range between 6 acres to 40 acres. We will get a technical study and get the nod from Airports Authority of India,’’ BBMP Joint Director Sarfaraz Khan said.

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