Haryana to buy Rs 41-cr VIP aircraft
Chandigarh, April 3 (IANS) After harping on austerity measures for over four years, the BJP government in Haryana has finally decided on a luxury item — a 10-seater aircraft worth nearly Rs 41 crore for use by the state’s VIPs.
“A 10-seater King Air B-250 aircraft will be purchased at an estimated cost of $62,50,000 (approximately Rs 41 crore), which is presently used by governments in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh,” Haryana Civil Aviation Minister Rao Narbir Singh said in a statement here on Tuesday.
The Minister said that the state presently has a twin-engine helicopter for use by the Governor, Chief Minister and other dignitaries.
“The government had purchased an aircraft in 2005, which crashed at the Chandigarh Airport in March 2014. All formalities (for the purchase of the new aircraft) have been completed,” Rao Narbir Singh said.
The Khattar government has also decided to purchase three small Cessna-172 training aircraft to impart training to the youths in Haryana. The three aircraft will cost over Rs 3.16 crore.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who assumed office in October 2014, had categorically said then that his government will not purchase a new aircraft for VIP use in view of high price and maintenance costs.
The government also dispensed with the services of three pilots in 2014 since there was no official aircraft to fly.
The Governor, Khattar and other VIPs used to take regular commercial flights, or use the state helicopter, or even opted for the Shatabdi Express train to visit New Delhi and other places in the absence of a state-owned aircraft.
The then Haryana Governor, Jagannath Pahadia and nine others, including his family members and aides, had a miraculous escape when a state-owned King Air B-200 aircraft crashed just after take-off at the Chandigarh Airport on March 27, 2014.