BBMP pushing for helipads

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s proposed solutions to the traffic problems in the city are all above road level — after mooting metropods and a network of elevated corridors, the civic body is now pushing for the helipad project.

Highly placed sources in the BBMP said the civic body had entrusted a private agency to draw up a detailed project report. “The report is almost ready and we will float tenders soon,” sources said.

Sources said the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance took a
suo motu
decision and tabled the issue before the council, after which it was included in the BBMP’s 2018–19 budget.

In the budget, it is stated that Rs. 5 crore would be earmarked for the project in the first phase and the helipads would be used to provide air ambulance services, besides enabling easy movement of dignitaries in the city.

Sources confirmed that the BBMP would not be investing much in the project and would only be providing the land for the helipads.

Mayor R. Sampath Raj said after the helipads are established, healthcare would become more accessible to all sections of society. “We have already identified land for the helipads in six of the eight zones in the city. In the outer zones, the flat lands near the landfill have been identified,” he said.

He also said BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad and he had met with officials of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and discussed the project.

“The DGCA officials informed us that the helipads need special permission only if they are on a high-rise. No permission is required if the helipads are on the ground level,” he said, and added that there were, however, a few regulations, such as there should no high-tension lines or high-rises in the vicinity.

Mr. Sampath Raj also claimed that the BBMP had been getting enquiries from several companies who wish to tie up with the civic body for establishing these helipads.

“The BBMP will only be putting up a compound. The other infrastructure, such as hangar, a clinic, and parking for ambulance will be the responsibility of the company that ties up with the BBMP,” he said, and stated that a pre-bid meeting would be held shortly with the interested companies.

However, those opposing the project argued that most of the land parcels owned by the BBMP are worth several crores. The civic body has already lost several plots of land that it had leased to various organisations and companies.

“The city is plagued by several problems, such as bad roads, increasing garbage and inadequate civic infrastructure. Instead of focussing on these issues, why is the BBMP pushing for this project that will benefit only a few?” they said.

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