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Saddled with old and unsafe planes, Kamal Nath govt struggles to fly its VIPs

The Kamal Nath government has now decided to sell the sole aircraft and two choppers that the state government owns and to buy a new seven-seater aircraft.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 17, 2019, 07.30 AM IST
Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath
NEW DELHI: The Madhya Pradesh government is facing a pressing problem in flying its VIPs. Its existing fleet is so obsolete that the state government is forced to hire a plane or a chopper to fly its VIPs, including the chief minister.

The Kamal Nath government has now decided to sell the sole aircraft and two choppers that the state government owns and to buy a new seven-seater aircraft, said people aware of the matter.

The existing twin-engine aircraft is nearly 18 years old and has clocked over 6,600 landings. The two Bell choppers, one a twin-engine one and the other a single-engine one, are vintage variety too – one was manufactured way back in 1998 and the other in 2002, and have completed more than 5,000 and 4,100 landings, respectively. The offset value of the aircraft has been fixed at Rs 11.45 crore while that of the two choppers has been fixed at Rs 2.6 crore and Rs 5.15 crore, respectively.

Nath, who invariably uses his personal aircraft and chopper for travel, wants the costs of hiring reduced and ensure air travel by VIPs is both safe and cost-effective. This is, however, easier said than done.


The previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government had also tried to sell this air fleet, as it also wished to buy a new plane, but it found no takers. The price that the state government wanted was apparently too high for any bidder. The Congress was in the opposition then and it had criticised the plan, calling it a wastage of the state’s resources.

However, now that the existing f leet has become obsolete and a new plane may take time to buy, the Nath government has followed Chouhan’s idea of asking for bids from private operators to give it an aeroplane or a chopper on hire-onneed basis in 2019-20.

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