Rs 12 cr spent on maintenance of Omar's chopper

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has spent Rs 12 crore on the maintenance and operation of Omar Abdullah's aircraft since he became the Chief Minister in January 2009.

The details of the expenditure incurred on the usage of state chopper service from 2009 up to June 2011 were provided by the state Civil Aviation Department in response to an RTI application filed by a man, living Below Poverty Line (BPL) in central Kashmir's Budgam district.

In 2009-2010, the total expenditure on the helicopter sorties accumulated to Rs 4.63 crore, which included Rs 93.75 lakh spent on the fuel.

Interestingly, the state helicopter on August 14, 2009, made seven sorties between Srinagar and Gulmarg, with the Chief Minister and his guests on board.

The extravagance continued two days later when the state helicopter made four sorties between Pahalgam and Srinagar to fly Omar and his entourage to south Kashmir resort.

In 2010-2011, the amount spent on the state-owned helicopter rose to nearly Rs 6 crore, which included more than Rs 96 lakh spent on the fuel.

On June 15 2010, with Omar as one of the passengers, the state helicopter made nine sorties between Leh, Lukum and Tangse.

On August 2, 2010, the helicopter made 13 sorties between Srinagar, Jammu, Budgam and Baramulla.

During 2011-12, upto June, the total expenditure amounts to more than Rs 78 lakh which included more than Rs 19 lakh spent on the fuel.

Most of the travels of the Chief Minister by helicopter have been between Srinagar and Gulmarg and other tourist destinations.

The state Civil Aviation department has two helicopters and one fixed-wing plane in its inventory.