State Government would explore possibilities of constructing high altitude air strip on Chaka heights above Kalpa village besides developing the slopes for skiing by taking up the matter with the Government of India. This was stated by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, at Kalpa, in district Kinnaur, after he laid the foundation stone of helipad, estimated to cost Rs. 1.50 crore and Polytechnic College Campus to be developed at a cost of Rs. 10 crore, today.
Chief Minister said that Kinnaur was naturally beautiful and people from world over had been visiting the place round the year to enjoy natural grandeur of the virgin valley which was gradually coming up as a major tourist destination in the State. He said that on the recommendation of the local leaders, the State Government would take up the matter with appropriate authority in Government of India to survey the location for development as high altitude air strip to cater to the requirement of the high end tourists who could be flown to the valley direct from different destinations all over the country. He said that the proposed helipad at Kalpa would facilitate the landing of chartered helicopters besides accommodating emergency helicopter flights during winter season. He said that the air strip could also be strategically important as the district borders with international boundary and could be useful for military requirements. He said that since long distance traveling by road to Kinnaur was time consuming and with the construction of the air strip high end tourists could be directly flown to the valley thereby giving boost to high end tourism in the district.
Prof. Dhumal said that the Chaka slopes had been found suitable by skiers for skiing and the State Government would further be exploring the possibilities to develop the same for skiing during winter season and till the time adequate snow was available to meet the requirements of skiers. He said that with the development of the air strip heli-skiing possibilities would be possible which till now were being held in Rohtang area of Manali in district Kullu. He said that the site could also be utilized for organizing winter sports activities by first creating required infrastructural facilities to participating competitors. He said that such activities would help identify local talents who could excel in such sports and adopt the same as self employment avenue for themselves near to their homes. He said that additionally economic activities would also get generated in the area thereby benefiting different sections of the society as also bringing Kinnaur on the international map of winter sports.
Chief Minister said that the State Government had also taken up the issue of opening passage to Mansarovar pilgrimage through Kinnaur area of Himachal Pradesh which would not only reduce the distance substantially but also make the journey comparatively safe. He said that the existing route through Kumaon area of Uttrakhand had been taking weeks to and fro besides crossing high altitude passes to reach the sacred Mansarovar lake. He said that it would be more convenient for the pilgrims to travel through Kinnaur to undertake the pilgrimage to take a holy dip in the sacred lake. He said that it would also help in revival of the old Silk Route which had been a traditional vital trade link of India with Tibetan traders for centuries. He said that the Lavi fair was also associated with the same trade activities where traders from both the regions had been bartering their produce and bye-products by undertaking long and arduous journey on foot and ponies for centuries.
Prof. Dhumal re-iterated the resolve of the State Government to give boost to the tourism promotion activities by creating quality infrastructural facilities to attract maximum visitors to the area so that the same could contribute significantly towards the economic activities in the area.
Shri Tejwant Negi, local MLA, welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked for his successful two-day visit to the district which would be a milestone in the development history of the district since developmental projects worth over Rs. 50 crore were dedicated to the people. He urged the Chief Minister to accord priority to the construction of air strip at Chaka heights, develop ski slopes as also get the route to Mansarovar lake opend through the district.
Smt. Surma Devi, Pradhan Gram Panchayat, Kalpa, also welcomed the Chief Minister and apprised him of various demands of her panchayat.
Shri Narender Bragta, Horticulture and Technical Education Minister, Shri R.R.Koundal, Deputy Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha, Shri Gyan Chandel, Chairman, APMC, Shimla and Kinnaur districts, Shri Vidya Sagar Negi, former Chairman, Zila Parishad, Shri Surat Negi, President, District Kinnaur BJP, Dr. Sunil Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Shri Ashok Kumar, Superintendent of Police, other senior officers and prominent people of the area were present on the occasion.