Shillong, April 6: After nearly a year, the Meghalaya government has invited tenders to resume chopper services in the state.
The Pawan Hans helicopter service was suspended on April 30 last year, a few hours after a helicopter carrying the then Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu went missing.
However, realising the need for chopper service, the state government recently floated a tender inviting commercial permit holders for wet lease of a twin-engine medium passenger helicopter of latest technology. The tender said the helicopter should have a carrying capacity of 10 to 15 passengers at an average weight of 80kg per passenger and 15kg baggage for each passenger, excluding pilots, crew and ATF. The helicopter should also have high-altitude flying capacity for transportation of passengers, VIPs and VVIPs, for an initial period of one year. The same may be extended for a period of three years for one year at a time.
The tender document also stated that to begin with, the helicopter is likely to be utilised for approximately 60 hours per month for flying on the Shillong-Tura-Guwahati-Shillong route.
Pawan Hans had been operating in the state since the 1980s and the lone helicopter operated from Shillong to Tura via Guwahati and back daily.
The single horrifying incident till date was the helicopter crash at Kyrdemkhla in West Khasi Hills bordering Ri Bhoi district, on September 22, 2004, where 10 people were killed, including legislators.