The Indian Air Force deployed 35 choppers and ferried over 4,850 passengers across the country, including in Maoist and terrorist-infested areas in Chhatisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states, for the Lok Sabha elections.
The Army will have to wait further for 197 helicopters as the Defence Ministry has extended till June 30 the contractual validity of two bids received for the Rs 5,000 crore tender amid allegations of bribery attempt.
With Naxal threat looming over the Assembly polls in the state, the Election Commission is planning to use helicopters to ferry electronic voting machines and the polling booth staff to far-flung areas of south Chhattisgarh.
With the focus now shifting from disaster mitigation of cyclone to flood relief, the Defence Ministry on Monday said it has pressed four helicopters into service to evacuate the marooned local population as well as to drop relief materials to Phailin hit areas.
HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, who was minister of state for Defence when the deal for procuring 12 choppers from Italian firm Finmeccanica was signed in 2010 said he can "vouch for the integrity" of former IAF chief SP Tyagi.
Amidst ongoing tussle between the IAF and the Army over control of attack and medium-lift choppers, the Defence Ministry has sought the advice of the National Security Advisor (NSA) to resolve the issue.