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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Civil aviation dept plans to cash in on election season

Sanjoy Dey  Ranchi, March 28, 2014
First Published: 15:48 IST(28/3/2014) | Last Updated: 15:52 IST(28/3/2014)

With the election heat picking up, it is time for political parties to rush in their star candidates at maximum number of places within the shortest possible time for campaigning.

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This is the time when chopper service assumes great importance. Almost all the national as well as regional parties are racing ahead of each other in a bid to book choppers from various agencies before they become unavailable. Not to be left behind, the Jharkhand civil aviation department has also offered to rent out its lone chopper to political parties.

A department official said the chopper would be allotted on a first-come first-serve basis at `1.25 lakh per hour.  However, political parties are more interested in hiring choppers from agencies based in Delhi and Mumbai as the state copter, many claimed, was not in a good condition and prone to accidents.

HT found out that the two national parties - BJP and Congress - have booked four choppers so far while regional parties like the JMM, JVM(P) and AJSU have booked one each. The numbers will increase during the second phase of elections.

JVM(P) general secretary Pravin Singh said the party booked a copter from a Delhi-based agency and it would be further increased as per the requirement. Commenting on the state’s helicopter, he added, “There is a fear of flying in the state’s chopper, as it is prone to accidents. There is no guarantee of safety and security in it,” Singh said.

JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said, “The party has booked one helicopter so far. But this is not the state’s chopper. We hired it from outside, as the state’s chopper is not in a good condition.”


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