THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s move to hire a helicopter from Pawan Hans, to tackle Maoist menace as well as for rescue operations during natural calamities, was mired in controversy after it emerged that another company had offered a much better deal than the one offered by the Central PSU.
The state government is all set to enter an agreement with the New-Delhi-based helicopter service company which offered a 10-seater helicopter on a rent of `1.44 crore for 20 flying hours a month. For every additional hour flown, `75,000 will have to be paid. The maintenance and fuel cost will be borne by Pawan Hans.
The induction of the helicopter would incur a financial burden of `17.28 crore a year at a time when the state is going through a financially grim situation.It has emerged that Delhi-based private company Chipsan Aviation had offered three helicopters at the same rate. Chipsan Aviation had made agreements with many states.
The company had also offered free service in the state during the flood havoc. According to officials of Chipsan Aviation, its proposal was sent to state police chief Loknath Behera but it did not elicit any response. It is understood that the agreement with Pawan Hans will be signed this month. The decision to take the helicopter on lease was taken after several rounds of discussions held at the top level of the government.