BANGALORE: Believe it or not: it is cheaper to travel by helicopter than by a car, if former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s travel bills are any proof.
Documents pertaining to his travel obtained by Express through RTI, indicate that Yeddyurappa’s travel costs by car were far higher than a trip to Mysore by helicopter. This misleading and inaccurate information was provided to TNIE by the Chief Minister’s Office only after being reprimanded by the RTI Court.
Yeddyurappa’s official trips cost Rs 41,20,459.00 during his tenure between May 2008 and August 2010. He travelled by helicopter 138 times; 224 times by aircraft; 135 times by car and 33 times by train.
His travel by car from Karaikal, Thirunellur, Annamalai, Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu and back to Bangalore cost the exchequer Rs 840, whereas his short hops by chopper cost only Rs 120. Another trip from Ingalgi, Kamathagi, Hirisindogi in Bellary and back cost Rs1,000 by car whereas it cost only Rs 36 by a helicopter. Incidentally, it costs over Rs800 for a taxi ride from Queen’s Road to Bangalore airport, a distance of 35 km.
There are many travel costs that have not even been mentioned but the total trips have been calculated without a mention of those figures.
Yeddyurappa travelled more than 35 times by helicopter to Mysore and many parts of Tamil Nadu from Bangalore for a fee of only Rs 1,000 and over 13 times below the rate of Rs1,000.
When contacted, sources in Deccan Aviation (DA) said the amount was preposterous and no discount could account for such low tariffs. They said DA charges Rs80,000 for Bell-230 5-seater helicopter and Rs v75,000 for a AS-355 four-seater chopper per hour.
“We charge on a per-hour basis and Mysore is normally the shortest distance,” they said and added, “Other costs include airport landing charges that vary from Rs 8,000 in Mysore, which is the least, to Rs 30,000 per landing at BIAL, the highest.” For long distances, an additional ‘crew maintenance’ charge of around Rs 25,000 is levied.