Dhruv grounded; MHA hunts for choppers

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 14:45

New Delhi: The Home Ministry is planning to
buy and wet-lease choppers to assist its forces engaged in
internal security duties, including anti-Naxal operations, as
the entire fleet of indigenous Dhruv helicopters has been
grounded following a series of mishaps.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said the Mi-17 helicopters of
the Indian Air Forces will help the paramilitary and state
police forces to do their job till the alternative
arrangements were made.

"Mi-17 helicopters are functional. It is the Dhruv
helicopters which were grounded. One of them crashed....so I
immediately I directed remaining (fleet) should be grounded,"
he told reporters here last evening.

Chidambaram said he had authorised wet leasing of some
helicopters and also looking for buying some more choppers for
use by the security forces.

"We have authorised wet leasing of helicopters. We are
also looking to buy some helicopters. This is a long-term
project for which money must be made available. And I
sincerely hope that money will be made available.

"...I think unless we find a replacement from the Dhruv
helicopters, we would have to do with the Mi helicopters," he
said.

The Border Security Force maintains the fleet of Dhruv
helicopters. Before the crashes near Ranchi and Raipur, it had
seven Dhruvs.

At least five Dhruv choppers, manufactured by the
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and designed to meet the
requirement of both military and police forces, have crashed
in recent years in India, Nepal and Ecuador in Latin America.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 14:45
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