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
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.