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Comeback hope for temple flight

Devotion is once again set to soar high with an attempt being made to relaunch the special flight service to Deoghar and premium darshan at Baidyanath temple during Shravani Mela.

Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), which had started the Baidyanath Hawai Darshanam in association with state tourism and civil aviation departments last year to help kanwariyas beat the extreme rush but had to finally dump it because of poor response, has submitted a fresh proposal two days ago.

The business body, which has approached the tourism department, has sought help from it to make the venture a success at both Ranchi and Jamshedpur this time.

Last year, though the flight service was supposed to be introduced in both cities, it could start only in Ranchi.

“The trade outfit wants subsidy from the state government so that it can offer the special Babadham visit package to pilgrims at a much lower cost. Last year, Baidyanath Hawai Darshanam was priced at Rs 14,999 per person. This year, we are planning to bring it down to Rs 10,000,” FJCCI secretary Pawan Sharma told The Telegraph.

Deputy secretary of the tourism department Sunil Kumar Sinha confirmed receiving the proposal two days back. “A decision is pending. However, as Shravan Mela will kick off from July 13, a call has to be taken by the first week of next month,” he said.

On July 28, 2013, chief minister Hemant Sorent had flagged off the holy trip to Deoghar from Birsa Munda Airport. The package included two-way journey on a nine-seater Cessna Caravan, darshan and jal abhishek (an offering made to the sacred lingam) and refreshments. The devotees came back the same day.

Poonam Anand, a FJCCI member, said: “From Ranchi, the flight operated for 11 days or more, while the service failed to kick off from Jamshedpur. The high prices, bad weather and the devotees’ preference for Mondays to conduct the holy trip were some of the reasons behind the poor response.”

So, what makes them think that the service will work out this time? “We are making foolproof arrangements. If the journey cost can be brought down, it will be a huge success,” an optimistic Sharma said.


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