A chopper carrying a group of students was flagged off from the city's Sahastradhara Helidrome for a sortie around the mountains.

The children enjoyed the 45-minute free chopper ride during which they had a glimpse of the picturesque environs of the hill state.

After the chopper was flagged off by Civil Aviation Secretary Akshat Gupta to mark the launch of the programme, Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Authority vice-chairman Gaurav Chaudhry said it is aimed to boost tourism in the state by offering a helicopter ride on subsidised rates to tourists with a shoestring budget.     

The move is among a slew of measures being taken by the state government to put back on track Uttarakhand's tourism industry derailed by the 2013 calamity.

A guest house of Uttarakhand Civil Avitation Authority was also inaugurated on the occasion.

Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Sharma said the idea behind the programme is to enable common people to fly around the beautiful mountains of Uttarakhand for Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.

However, the launch function was kept low-key in view of the untimely demise of state cabinet minister Surendra Rakesh, who passed away at a Gurgaon hospital this morning after a protracted battle with cancer.

The June 2013 calamity severely affected the tourism industry in Uttarakhand, the maninstay of its economy and all efforts are being made to lure visitors back to its scenic beauty.

Many schemes to revive tourism in Uttarakhand were launched last year, including winter time Char Dham yatra and a project named 'Mere Bujurg, Mere Teerth', an initiative to help senior citizens undertake the yatra for free.     

Under the initiative, the state government through Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, provides free food, accommodation and travel for all the yatris aged 65 years and above.

Latest News from Uttarakhand News Desk