Meghalaya Guv spends Rs 1.37 crore on chopper services
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Last Updated: Monday, March 14, 2011, 16:31
Shillong: Meghalaya Governor R S Mooshahary's frequent chopper rides in the last two years has cost the state exchequer a whopping Rs 1.37 crore, an RTI finding has revealed.

Out of the 132 times Mooshahary chartered the chopper, on 85 occasions he travelled to his residence near Narengi in Guwahati, about 100 km from here, the RTI reply sought by city-based journalist E M Jose said.

Since February 1999, when the service was first introduced, the lone Pawan Hans helicopter has been chartered 328 times till September last year.

Only 13 times did Mooshahary, who assumed office in July 2008, used the chopper to tour within Meghalaya, the reply by the helicopter service of the state transport department said.

The services were used even for places like Jowai which is just 60 km away.

A chartered ride fare costs Rs 85,000 per trip.

The helicopter service was provided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for "better communication of the people of this hilly state, especially Garo Hills, which is quite far from the state capital Shillong".

By road, it takes between 10 to 12 hours to travel from Shillong to Tura (Garo hills), but with the helicopter the travelling time is drastically reduced to approximately less than two hours.

"The service was introduced with the intention to help the general public travel by air at a very nominal rate, so that even the lower income group can avail the facility," the RTI reply said.

The Union Home Ministry provides 50 per cent subsidy for helicopter operation in Meghalaya on schedule services, with the state government contributes 25 per cent subsidy of the total cost.

Unlike the Governor, the chief ministers of the state often travelled by road from Shillong to Guwahati which takes less than 3 hours by road.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma chartered the chopper only once to visit Langpih, a disputed area along the Assam border.

The then Governor of Meghalaya M M Jacob, who had served in the state for more than 11 years till 2007, spent a total amount of around Rs 40 lakh for chopper ride.


First Published: Monday, March 14, 2011, 16:31

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