After home department’s refusal to utilise the old chopper for its operations in naxal-hit areas, the state government has decided to sell it off for Rs. 10 crore. The chopper Dauphin N-3 was decommissioned from the VIP services, after the DGCA made the norms stringent in 2011.
“We checked with the home department if the chopper could be used for operations in naxal-hit areas. Since the home department had hired the chopper at very high rent, we requested them to use it. After they refused to take over the possession last month, we decided to sell it off,” said an officer from the Mantralaya, requesting anonymity.
PS Meena, principal secretary, general administration department, said, “The reserve price finalised for the tenders is Rs. 10 crore. We expect a good price as the chopper has been used for a short while and is in good condition.”
The 6+2 sitter helicopter was bought in 1999 and was used by the chief minister, deputy chief minister and governor of Maharashtra.
After a chopper carrying then Andhra Pradesh chief minister YSR Reddy crashed in September 2009, the Director General of Civil Aviation issued stringent norms for the state government choppers meant for VIPs.
The state government had earlier decommissioned Kingair B300, after the purchase of Cessna Citation XLS for the transport of VIPs in 2008. The old aeroplane with the capacity of 7+2 sitting has been unused since then.
“We are yet to take the final decision. We are considering the possibility of using it as an additional facility by upgrading it to the DGCA’s norms,” said an official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.