DGCA check for UP poll duty choppers

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has sent its teams to Lucknow and Varanasi to check the compliance of safety standards by helicopters being used by politicians and ministers in the wake of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi | Published: January 16, 2012 3:13 am

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sent its teams to Lucknow and Varanasi to check the compliance of safety standards by helicopters being used by politicians and ministers in the wake of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan said that they would take strict action if the rules laid down by the regulatory body were not complied with and if necessary,“ground the pilots” who succumb to the pressure of politicians and get ready to fly in adverse conditions. He added that they were concentrating on the condition of “airstrips” and “improvised helipads” as well.

“We cannot take action against politicians but we can definitely do so against pilots,” said Bhushan.

“If the pilot allows himself to be forced by politicians to fly when the condition is not suitable he will be grounded. Strict action will be taken against the operator who would toe their line,” he added.

In the past three years two state chief ministers,Y S R Reddy of Andhra Pradesh and Dorjee Khandu of Arunachal Pradesh,died when their helicopters crashed.

“The upcoming polls in five states will see massive use of helicopters by politicians and ministers for campaigning purposes. We have sent teams to Lucknow and Varanasi to check the air safety preparedness as these two places are witnessing the maximum movement of helicopters and are one of the busiest during the election season. Lucknow is particularly a cause of worry,” the DGCA chief said.

DGCA said that “analysis of earlier accidents associated with small aircraft/ helicopter operations from improvised airstrips/ helipads revealed that laid down instructions were violated time and again and safety was jeopardised”.

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