Hiring of helicopter: Claims to trace Maoists; aims to serve VIPs
Thiruvananthapuram: The state is planning to hire helicopters mainly to serve VIPs, it is learned. The frequent presence of Left Extremist groups in the northern districts of the state has been cited as the reason for hiring helicopters. However, experts pointed out that ordinary helicopters are not suitable for such operations and they will only be helpful in aerial observation of places hit by natural calamities.
The government is planning to hire AS365 Dauphin N3 helicopter owned by Pawan Hans Helicopter Services. The 10-seater helicopter will be hired for Rs 1,44,60,000 for 20 hours per month. Rs 67,926 will be charged for every extra hour.
The government claims that they are making contract with Pawan Hans as it is a Public Sector Company (PSC). Experts headed by the chief secretary assessed that the twin-engine helicopter is more efficient.
Meanwhile, Chipsan Aviation Helicopter Services offered three helicopters for the same rent to be paid to Pawan Hans. As this offer came to light, the government action has resulted in a controversy.
- Engine Turbomeca Arriel 2-C
- Seat capacity – 10 (8 passengers, 2 staff)
- Weight – 4,300 kilogram
- Fuel – 897 kg
- Maximum speed – 427 nautical mile
Weather radar, radio navigation, dual mode transponder, GPS, emergency locator transmitter, Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS)
Other models suggested by Pawan Hans
- Sikorsky S-76 (seating capacity-14)
- ALH-Dhruv (seating capacity-16)
- VIP travelling
- Security operations
- Tracking vehicles
- Watching movement of vehicles or intruders
- Taking commandos and troupes at anti-Naxal operation spots
- Coastal security activities
- Rescue operation during natural calamities like flood
- Evacuation during emergency situations
- Transporting prisoners who have security threats
- Landing and eviction
- Rescue operations
- Night police patrolling
- Minimum technical requirement for Maoist hunting
- Synthetic aperture radar for recognising movement of Maoist groups in forest
- Facilities to manage rescue operation and lift people with rope by hovering during emergency situations
- Those fly the helicopters should have expertise to use it for these purposes
When K. Karunakaran was the chief minister, he ended up in a controversy over a helicopter ride. He went to Delhi for a party programme. Meanwhile, he had to attend the rice feeding ceremony of his grandchild in Kozhikode. In order to reach there, he used a Navy flight from Kochi. While he was boarding the flight, a man accompanied him. Later, this led to a huge controversy. When he was asked about the same, Karunakaran replied that it was only a poor chap from Mala.
During the tenure of the previous government, the UDF had decided to get an air ambulance. A contract was signed with Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation. However, when the LDF government came into power, they dropped the plan as it would cause huge financial liability.