Panaji :Despite protests from locals, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) today began commercial operations of helicopter joy rides in the state.
GTDC has joined hands with Pawan Hans company for the helicopter joy rides from Panaji to Aguada helipad, located across river Mandovi.
“The commercial operations began today. We had a police security to ensure that no one disrupts the service,” GTDC Managing Director Nikhil Desai told PTI.
The first flight took off at 1 PM and landed at Aguada helipad after flying the tourists over river Mandovi, Candolim beach and Old Goa church monuments.
Locals who are staying around Aguada plateau have been opposing heli-tourism claiming that it would affect their livelihood.
Local BJP MLA Michael Lobo and former Congress legislator Agnelo Fernandes are leading the protests, which are even supported by the Goa Church.
Meanwhile, Fernandes along with few locals met Goa Governor Mridula Sinha today and submitted a memorandum to her over the issue.
Lobo, who has joined hands with the protesters, said he has already informed Goa BJP president (Vinay Tendulkar) that people from his constituency are against the heli-tourism project.
“Goans do not want such artificial projects including helicopter ride, sea planes, ropeway, amphibious vehicle and others. In fact, tourism department should take initiative to get more foreign tourist in the state,” he said.