Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Thursday said the state government will hire a twin-engine helicopter exclusively for the movement of VIPs.
“There is a need for a dedicated helicopter for official and VIP movement as the state currently uses the helicopter services meant for tourists and civil purposes,” Sangma said.
Rubbishing media reports that the state government planning to procure helicopter for the State, the Chief Minister said, “Meghalaya has not come out with any tender or shown any intention to procure any chopper because it is very expensive.”
“We will only be giving out a tender for leasing, a short term lease, on service basis and we pay on hourly basis to the concerned company that that is the most efficient way in which we can serve the purpose and at the same time not incur too much of heavy financial burden,” Sangma explained.
Justifying the need for a dedicated chopper for official and VIP movement as the state currently uses the helicopter services meant for tourists and civil purposes, the Chief Minister said, “When the government is using the chopper, the tourist services are hit.”
“This is also being done because most of the time, the chopper that is there that’s meant for tourists and normal sorties meant for Shillong, Tura and Guwahati, they normally get disturbed when there is some VIP movement. Hence, as and when we require the chopper, atleast, by following a procedure, we’ll be leasing it out and using the chopper as and when we require,” he informed.
The Chief Minister further clarified that if a helicopter is acquired, the helicopter will belong to the service provider, the pilot and the fuel will also be theirs, the state government will only pay on an hourly basis.
As per the Request for Proposal (RPF) floated by the transport department, Meghalaya Government is looking to get a chopper on wet lease of a twin-engine helicopter with a seating capacity of 5-6 people, excluding the crew, and technical specifications in accordance with DGCA norms.
The lease will be for a period of three months, which can be extended on the same terms and conditions with mutual consent, it said.