English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 21, 2018

Helicopter service benefits people of Lunana

Pema Namgay, Lunana
Nov 22, 2016

helicopter-service-benefits-people-of-lunanaThe introduction of helicopter service has eased the lives of people in Lunana.

The Mountain passes along the Gasa-Lunana and other routes are blocked by snow and ice in the winter. Travelling to and from Lunana was the biggest challenge for people of Lunana.

But, the problem has now been solved with the introduction of helicopter service. People of Lunana now hire helicopters to travel and transport commodities from Punakha to Lunana. .

“During winter, most people travel to lower valley. And when somebody dies here, it used to be difficult for people to get back to Lunana. But now since we have the helicopter service at our disposal, it is convenient to travel whenever we want,” said Kinley Gyem of Lhedi, Lunana.

Besides easing difficulties in travelling, the helicopter service has helped save lives. So far seven medical evacuations have been undertaken in Lunana.

“My wife had complications related to pregnancy in June, last year. The Health Assistant contacted doctors in Thimphu and they send helicopters immediately to take my wife to the National Referral Hospital free of cost. An ambulance was kept ready at Lungtenphu,” said Tshogpa of Wachey, Phub Dorji.

 According to Bhutan Helicopter Service, most demand for helicopter service comes from people of Lunana.

This year till date, Bhutan helicopter service undertook nearly 40 flights to Lunana alone.

People living in places, where there is no road connectivity including Lunana, enjoy subsidy on helicopter hiring rate from the government.

It costs Nu 65,550 for an hour for people to hire helicopters to Lunana.

For local and government chartered flight, it costs over Nu1, 81, 000 for an hour. For the tourists, an hour of helicopter service costs Nu 3, 50,000 ngultrum.

Also, for the first time, with the help of helicopter service, schools in Lunana opened on time, this year. Teachers along with essential items were airlifted to Lunana.

Owing to the demand, the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service has already placed around 400 litres of helicopter fuel in Lunana.

There are also plans to construct proper helicopter landing pads in Lunana. They want to ensure better and consistent services to the people.




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