Grounded: The Cessna Caravan that was supposed to take pilgrims to Deoghar
Wait till next year to earn a pair of wings to Baidyanath Dham.
Jamshedpur’s dreams to fly to the pilgrim town of Deoghar as part of Baba Baidyanath Darshanam during the ongoing Shravani Mela crashed on Friday when the state tourism department called off the charter service.
Reasons? Frequent deferments of the flight, poor response from devotees and the motor glider mishap in Deoghar on August 7.
“We will refund the money of those who had booked tickets,” said Prakash Kumar, booking in-charge in Sakchi.
Initially, the scheduled date for departure from Jamshedpur was August 1. But, thanks to an overwhelming response in Ranchi, the flight from the steel city had to be postponed to August 4. Again, due to some unavoidable circumstances, the service was grounded till August 11. The constant dawdlings led to a decrease in the number of pilgrims interested to board the flight from Jamshedpur.
According to co-ordinators from Jamshedpur, there were enough queries at the start, but many cancelled their bookings at the last minute.
A nine-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft was supposed to take the kanwariyas to Deoghar. So, the minimum number of passengers required for the flight to take off was 27. However, only 18 bookings were confirmed.
“We needed a minimum of 27 passengers so that we did not suffer any loss,” said tourism principal secretary Sajal Chakravarty.
However, the final nail in the coffin was the glider crash on August 7. Many passengers — both from Ranchi and Jamshedpur — cancelled their trips after the mishap.
Naturally, the devotees are upset. “I had booked three tickets — for me, my wife and a friend. Unfortunately, we have to cancel our plans now,” said Paramjeet Singh, proprietor of Chandan Medicals in Sakchi, who was to fly on August 3.
Chakravarty, however, is optimistic and is already planning for next year. “Next Shravan, we will do it in a better way and will try to offer aerial link to Delhi too,” he added.