KOCHI: The Navy has not sent any bill to the state government demanding payment for the relief and rescue operation carried out during the recent floods in Kerala.
“The relief and rescue operation is part of the Navy’s operational deployment and we are not required to calculate the expense incurred. Apart from the number of personnel deployed and the fuel expense of aircraft and vessels, nothing can be quantified,” Southern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Vice-Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla told media on board INS Tir at Kochi Naval Base on Monday. He was speaking on the occasion of the Navy Week.
“We are not required to prepare a bill for the full expense incurred for a relief and rescue mission. We don’t have a procedure to quantify the service. Such deployments are part of our training programme,” said Chawla.
Southern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Vice-Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla said: “A pilot rescuing a person stranded on the rooftop of a house is exercising his skills. We won’t have open air fields to land during an operation. The aircraft has to land on a small deck of a moving aircraft carrier in a rough sea. Such skills give us the experience to work under challenging conditions,” he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed the Assembly the Air Force had asked the state to pay over Rs 33.79 crore as the charge incurred for the rescue efforts during the deluge. Chawla said the Navy had for the first time since 1999 opened INS Garuda, the Navy Air Station for civil operations during the flood, based on a request from the state government.
“We provided all facilities for civilian operations free of cost. The Cochin International Airport authorities coordinated the operations and provided the fuel for the commercial aircraft. We’ll be sending bills for landing and using airport facilities to the airline companies. They also need the bill for audit purpose. We also prepare the records for audit purpose, but won’t demand money for rescue operation,” he said.