The Haryana government is paying Rs 11 lakh every month to keep a non-existent plane in the air, as the operating staff is idle since the crash that the governor survived a year ago.
The staff of more than 15 has no other duty yet, as the state government has no immediate plan of buying a new aircraft, the state aviation department has claimed in a reply submitted under the RTI (Right to Information) Act. A Super King Air B200 VT-HRA crashed in March 2014 with the-then governor, Jagannath Pahadia, and six others on board, who escaped with minor injuries.
The idle staff includes wing commanders, junior pilots, engineers, and mechanics. The aeroplane meant for carrying governor, chief minister and other VVIPs was damaged beyond repair in the accident and the insurance claim is still pending, says the RTI reply. The state government also owns a helicopter.
“It’s a waste of public money, if the staff are being paid to do nothing. The government should transfer them to other departments or private airlines where they can be used gainfully,” said RTI applicant Aseem Takyar. When contacted, principal secretary for civil aviation Avtar Singh said he had nothing to add to the RTI reply.