Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Uttarakhand government has begun an investigation into claims that private helicopters deployed on rescue mission in the disaster-hit state have charged lakhs of rupees from relatives of stranded pilgrims in Kedarnath and Badrinath.
State Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said a probe has been ordered by the aviation department to ascertain the facts in the case.
The probe followed a letter from Union Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna in which he mentioned how a private chopper operator reportedly pocketed money from relatives of a family stranded in Badrinath.
After floods hit the state on June 16-17, private helicopters were the first to reach the devastated areas including Kedarnath.
Sixteen choppers were ferrying pilgrims to Char Dham pilgrimage sites and following the floods, they were roped in for relief and rescue operations.
The state government has been paying over Rs 70,000 per hour to each private chopper involved in the rescue operation.