Rename ‘Rohini Heliport’ as ‘Barwala Heliport’, demand anguished residents

Dayanand Vats-Championing the cause of Barwala village with a crusader’s zeal

By Bipin Sharma

Rohini Heliport, the country’s first heliport located at north west of New Delhi in Rohini was inaugurated by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on 28th February’2017. The newly inaugurated heliport owned by Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited happens to be the first of its kind facility in the country boasting of a separate air traffic control (ATC), fire and fuelling services. Besides, it is home to a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility to be used for the Pawan Hans fleet as well as for third-party maintenance work. While the newly inaugurated, country’s first heliport signals a new era, local residents of Barwala have been disgruntled since their village ‘Barwala’ finds no mention in the heliport’s name. Built on an area space of 25 acres, at a distance of a few kilometers from Rithala Metro Station in Barwala, the new heliport consists of a terminal building with a capacity of 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity of 16 helicopters and nine parking bays.

When the name of the Heliport was announced, residents were shocked to see their village having no mention despite the heliport having being built on the land of the Barwala village. And this led to the issue becoming all the more contentious.

Expressing his anguish on the same, social crusader and President of Barwala village RWA, Dayanand Vats remarks, “Local inhabitants of Barwala have untiringly played a critical role all these years in addressing myriad problems concerning the common man in and around Barwala, in sector 24 as well as in sector 36, Rohini. Be it getting the street lighting ‘functional’ on the crucial Rohini Heliport road leading all the way from sector 24 to the Rohini Heliport in sector 36 to resolving law and order issues as well as copious of other civic issues concerning their neighbour colonies, Barwala residents have always been in the forefront, playing a pivotal role in the removal of roadblocks so as to ensure the speedy progression of the developmental works. It is our right to demand the renaming of the Rohini Heliport as ‘Barwala Rohini’ since the land on which the Heliport has been built, falls in Barwala zone. For extraneous reasons, authorities in our case, seem to have deviated from the usual trend which has been of naming airports and other prominent landmarks after the city, or the district on which they stand. We were further given a step motherly treatment by the competent authorities when they even didn’t bother to invite us for the Heliport inauguration event. We feel let down by the government authorities, our area elected representatives and officials of Pawan Hans Limited. The renaming of Rohini Heliport as Barwala Heliport, sector 36, Rohini would do a world of good in bringing Barwala on the world map, and thus give the village a distinctive identity. I will be writing a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to rename the heliport as ‘Barwala Heliport’. A group of residents from Village Barwala will also be soon meeting area MP Udit Raj, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju, Delhi LG Anil Baijal and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha to apprise them of their justified demand.

It is sad that the government and the private sector show all sorts of rosy dreams to villagers and the farmers when they are in desperate need of village land for building new infrastructure, but once their mission is accomplished, they deliberately choose to look the other way, and thus deny the village its rightful due. If the same trend continues unabated, the day is not far when the villages will soon lose their core identity. Residents of Barwala village fully support and share PM Modi’s vision of smart cities, and duly understand that the basis of a smart city lies in it being efficient enough to sustain its resources. I am confident that our dynamic PM will look into our demands, and accordingly instruct the authorities to make the necessary amends by renaming the ‘Rohini Heliport’ as ‘Barwala Heliport’.”

The Heliport was proposed by the Civil Aviation Ministry and approved under the Master Plan of Delhi. As a matter of fact, the Delhi government and the Civil Aviation Ministry had decided on building the heliport and the helipad at Rohini in 2009 for the Commonwealth Games (CWG). Built by state-run Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL), the heliport will be used for chopper travel within the region, thereby promoting travel and tourism, and generating business. The Rohini heliport has been conceived as a state-of-the-art feeder hub centre comprising helicopter maintenance facilities, parking facilities for other helicopter operators.