After Fadnavis’ near accident, Maharashtra government to spend ₹90 cr on chopper for VIPs | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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After Fadnavis’ near accident, Maharashtra government to spend ₹90 cr on chopper for VIPs

The Maharashtra government will call for global tenders for the new chopper soon

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2017 00:13 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis escaped a potential chopper accident while returning from Alibaug two weeks ago.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis escaped a potential chopper accident while returning from Alibaug two weeks ago.(HT File Photo)

The new helicopter that the state plans to buy for its VIPs is likely to cost nearly Rs90 crore and may take at least a year to be delivered. While procuring the chopper will take four months, the bidding process before and registration after it will lengthen the procedure, said an official.

A committee headed by chief secretary Sumeet Mullick decided to speed up the process on Wednesday. Its decision comes two weeks after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis escaped a potential chopper accident while returning from Alibaug.

During a meeting at Mantralaya, the committee endorsed a decision to suspend the chopper’s operations during the monsoon. It also decided to dispose of a grounded helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft as soon as possible.

The state will appoint a pilot and co-pilot for its only aircraft in service — a Cessna Citation 560 XLS — for VIPs.

“We will call for global tenders to buy a chopper. It is likely to be a modern make of Sikorki S76 or Bell. The state favours the advanced make of Sikorki S76, which was grounded after it crash-landed in Latur in May. Reports revealed that its sturdiness helped the pilot avoid further damage,” said an official.

The state expects about Rs15 crore to be recovered from the Sikorki S76’s insurance cover.

After a failed attempt to dispose of the Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin, the state has decided to relax norms to ensure their speedy disposal.