600-m height curbs for copters in Kedarnath

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand Government today directed private helicopter operators flying pilgrims to the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath to restrict the flight of helicopters in the range of 600 metres when approaching the area falling between Gauri Kund and Rambara that also encloses Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, May 4

The Uttarakhand Government today directed private helicopter operators flying pilgrims to the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath to restrict the flight of helicopters in the range of 600 metres when approaching the area falling between Gauri Kund and Rambara that also encloses Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

The directives issued by Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy are aimed at complying with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders that had found the noise created by helicopters unbearable for animals residing in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary known for musk deers.

“All helicopters flying in the area, including private ones, will have to comply with the directives but the restrictions will not remain while landing and take-off. These restrictions will ensure lessening of noise and smoke pollution,” said S Ramawamy.

Further, the private operators have also been asked to ensure that their pilots enter the detail in the log books, in case they are forced to break the restrictions during bad weather conditions. A GPS system will also be put in place to ensure the operators to comply with the directives.

Significantly, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had carried out a study on the impact of noise pollution created by helicopters plying in Kedarnath on the animals residing in the sanctuary.

The report by the Dehradun-based WII, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has recommended to the government to shift the Sersi helipad as the noise from the low flying choppers was disturbing the fauna of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

In its order on December 10, 2015, the NGT had asked the state government to frame an aviation policy to check noise pollution.

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