With the transfer of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) E K Bharat Bhushan,the construction of Pawan Hans Helicopter Training Institute (PHTI) might get further delayed,said a Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) official. The project for training helicopter pilots and establishing a heliport at Gliding Centre Pune,Hadapsar (GCP),expected to function by March 31,will now be ready by year-end,said PHHL officials.
However,with the joining of new DGCA,GCP fraternity hopes that its unfulfilled demands during Bhushans tenure will now be fulfilled.
Bhushans transfer is being seen as the second jolt for the project after the transfer of R K Tyagi from the post of PHHL CMD to Hindustan Aeronautic Limited chief in September last year.
Tyagi and Bhushan played significant roles in taking the project ahead. Now that they are not associated with any of the agencies overlooking the project,the development might be delayed. New PHHL CMD Anil Srivastava was unformed about the importance of gliding activities besides other objectionable matters pertaining to the project in April when he visited GCP, said a GCP official,on conditions of anonymity.
Within a month of Srivastava taking over as the CMD on March 23,PHHL incurred a net loss of Rs 1.3 crore,according to monthly summary on the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) website.
While the MoU for the project was signed between DGCA and PHHL in 2010 during the tenure of Nasim Zaidi as DGCA,the project is said to have gained momentum after Bhushan took over the office of DGCA in December 2010.
There is no reason for the project to get affected because of DGCAs transfer. The delay till date has been because of the pending approval of the Air Force for operations of helicopters within its space limits. We are hoping to start the operations this year,preferably before the year end, said a key PHHL officer. He said the IAF clearance has yet not been given.
Meanwhile,Captain Shailesh Charbhe,instructor-in-charge,GCP on April 21,2011 had written a letter to Bharat Bhushan,mentioning the requirement of equipment worth Rs 2.65 crore for GCP,which was never replied by Bhushan. Instead of assigning funds to GCP,projection worth Rs 30 crore (Rs 6 crore per year over the next five years) was made for gliding activities via PHHL,an act which raised discomfort among GCP officials. Even today,GCP struggles for ropes – the most basic requirements for launching gliders.
GCP is an independent organisation under DGCA. Why should PHHL get funds for operating GCP, asked a GCP official. On contacting,Charbhe said,We will project the requirements again with the hope of receiving help.