Post Fadnavis Helicopter Crash, Centre Says Buy New Aircraft


Mumbai: Concerned after a chopper carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis crash landed a few days back, Centre has asked the state government to undertake a through check of its fleet.

As per a report, it has also asked the state government to procure new aircraft if needed. The Centre feels that if needed the state government can can set aside Rs 200-250 crore for to buy new choppers. Devendra Fadnavis was travelling by a Sikorsky helicopter, which was  purchased in December 2011 during the previous Congress-NCP government for Rs 55 crore.

The report quoted a source from the General Administration Department (GAD) as saying, “The government has just one aircraft, a Cessna Citation 560 XLS bought in 2008, for operations. A Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and an Eurocopter AS 365N3 Dauphin helicopter have been grounded for some years.”

“Last month, the Cabinet had decided to take a re-look at the state of its aircraft. The expenditure is being worked out. It is estimated between Rs 20 and Rs 23 crore,” another senior official was quoted.

Officials have however admitted that because of the hectic schedule of the chief minister, there had been several instances in last couple of months, when they had to make arrangements at the last minute. During his visit to Gadchiroli on May 13, the plane carrying Devendra Fadnavis had developed snag. Questions were also raised on non availability of an alternate aircraft, which was sent for maintenance purpose, the Indian Express report said further.

Few days back, a chopper carrying Devendra Fadnavis crash landed in Nilanga village of Latur, Maharashtra. During take-off, the chopper had developed a technical snag, which led to its crash. The chief minister and the team escaped unhurt. “Our helicopter did meet with an accident in Latur but me and my team is absolutely safe, nothing to worry, Devendra Fadnavis had tweeted.