Manmohanís change of travel plan costs city Rs 12 lakh

Around Rs 12 lakh spent on construction of the three helipads at the IRB Complex, Sarangpur for the Prime Minister has gone down the drain. As per Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's programme received from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), he would be travelling by road from the airport to the venue of the programme.

The PM is visiting the city on September 14 for handing over keys of the one room tenements at Dhanas constructed under the rehabilitation scheme to the slum-dwellers. While he would hand over keys to 10 beneficiaries at the function, a total of 6,110 slum-dwellers would be shifting to Dhanas. As many as 8,448 one room tenements have been constructed.

Addressing a conference on Wednesday, UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar said that the helipad was kept ready as an alernate arrangement. The programme that has come from the PMO states that PM would travel by road from the Airport to the venue at Dhanas.

As per earlier plan, the PM was slated to travel by a helicopter. However, the plan that has been received now states that he would travel by road.

During the PM's Chandigarh visit in 2009, a patient had died after the ambulance heading towards PGI got stuck in traffic. In order to avoid such a situation, it was proposed that after landing at the Chandigarh Airport, the PM would fly on a helicopter to Sarangpur and then drive to Dhanas. This way, there would have been no traffic on the way.

The PM's cavalcade would again have to cross PGI to reach Dhanas. The home secretary said that it has been directed that ambulances would not be stopped and the patients wouldn't face any problem. He added that the helipads would be put to use in the future.The process for selection of the site and construction of the helipads was going on for more than a fortnight. Initially, a site near Dhanas was selected. However, the place was rejected due to the heavy presence of birds. The site at IRB complex was then selected.

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