The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its recent report has pointed out delay in availability of infrastructure at air force stations for operating Mi-17 V5 helicopters.
To enhance the capability of the Mi-17 V5 helicopter fleet to undertake operations by night with greater safety and efficiency, contract for their procurement with night capability and associated equipment from M/s Rosoboronexport Russia was signed in December 2008 at a cost of Rs 6,416 crore.
These helicopters were received by May 2013 and allotted to seven Helicopter Units (HUs). Of the 80 helicopters, 14 were allotted as replacement of Mi-17 IV to one HU and the rest 66 were allotted among six newly raised HUs.
For infrastructure requirement for helicopters in six HUs, the work services like dispersal and link taxi tracks, covered parking, hangars and maintenance complex, tarmac etc were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Securities (CCS) in 2008 at a cost of Rs 87.2 crore.
The CAG reported, "We observed (October 2013 and March 2014) that despite the fact that the CCS approval for infrastructure works was accorded in 2008, the competent financial authority (Ministry/Air HQ) accorded sanctions for creation of infrastructure at four stations (Srinagar, Suratgarh, Bagdogra and Phalodi) between March 2010 and October 2010. While the work services at one station (Phalodi) was completed, the probable date of completion of these works at three stations was between October 2013 and May 2014 and these works were yet to be fully completed (August 2014). The work services in remaining two stations (Barrackpore and Purnea) are yet (August 2014) to be sanctioned for want of revised CCS sanction due to relocation of HUs from Kalaikunda and Nagpur to Barrackpore and Purnea, respectively."
Air HQ also stated that the reasons for delay in creation of infrastructure at Air Force bases were due to time taken by IIT in vetting of drawings, non-working season, deficiency of labour; and delay in finalisation of tender. The CAG observed that scrutiny of facts stated by Air HQ revealed that mandatory airfield infrastructure for safe operations of these newly inducted helicopters was not available at Barrackpore and Purnea whereas important infrastructure like link taxi track, tarmac and hangars was not available at Srinagar and Bagdogra which was an aerospace safety risk for operation of 44 helicopters valuing Rs 3,529 crore from these four HUs.
Director General Border Roads sanctioned two works worth Rs 90 lakh for creation of two storage accommodation. These funds were actually utilised to create a multipurpose hall with an area of 1,556 sq m for indoor games and seminars at an estimated cost of Rs 88 lakh in Headquarters Chief Engineer (Project) Beacon (CE) Complex at Srinagar, defeating the objective of storage accommodation.