The MP State cabinet approved the purchase of a new jet plane for the chief minister in its meeting on Tuesday. State government spokesperson, Narottam Mishra confirmed that a new jet plane would be bought as a state plane for about R80 crore.
Talking to the media, Mishra admitted that most air-strips in Madhya Pradesh had a short runway and that for the new jet plane, their length needed to be increased. "The state plane we have at present is about 13 years old and has almost completed its age," added Mishra.
At present, the state government owns a B-200 airplane which is small in size and therefore takes more travel time. It is also said to be dangerous to fly in the plane during inclement weather.
Sources told HT that at present, only the airstrips at Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Khajuraho are long enough for landing a jet plane. Mishra said that there are 21 airstrips in MP and that the state government has decided to increase the lengths of all these airstrips to facilitate the landing of jet planes.
The state B-200 plane has been in maintenance service since July 28 and the CM is using a hired airplane from a private firm, the cost for which is about R1.70 lakh per hour, said sources.
The state government's fleet currently consists of a Bell-430 double-engine helicopter that was bought in 1998. It also has a Super King B-200 helicopter that was bought in 2002.
Another single engine helicopter Bell-407 was bought in 2003. State government's latest buy in its fleet was EC-155-B-1 helicopter that was bought in 2011.