MAHARASHTRA GOVERNMENT Tuesday approved an amount of Rs 24 crore to repair the state’s old helicopter and bring it into service once again.
The cabinet gave its nod to the proposal considering that the government will otherwise have to spend Rs 100 crore if it decides to buy a new chopper instead of repairing the old one.
“We will be able to use the old helicopter for another 10 to 15 years if we repair it. Moreover, by repairing the old chopper, we will also be able to save on the expenses that the state has to incur on arranging for helicopters for VVIPs, which roughly comes to around Rs 8 crore,” said a state government official.
Besides, the home department spends Rs 18 crore every year in renting an N-3 helicopter from Pawan Hans for anti-Naxal operations. The government hopes to reduce this expenditure by repairing and commissioning its old helicopter, the official added. The state government had purchased the helicopter for Rs 23 crore in April, 2001 from France-based Euro Copter Co. The helicopter can accommodate six passengers and two pilots, and was extensively used for ten years by the governor, chief minister and deputy chief minister.
According to the rules stated by the company from which the state had purchased the helicopter, the government will have to commission a technical examination of the vehicle since it has flown for over 5,000 hours or crossed ten years in use. Of the Rs 24 crore, the state will have to spend Rs 12 crore on technical survey.