SOS to Centre for MI-17s

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 20.10.11
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Ranchi, Oct. 19: Jharkhand sent an SOS to the Centre, asking it to rush the three MI-17s that were promised to the state to help in anti-Maoist operations, even as a standby arrived from Raipur after today’s crash left security forces without air support.

“The state has been left with no chopper to carry out relief and rescue missions in Naxalite-hit zones. We have, therefore, sent an SOS to the Union home ministry to provide us with MI-17 choppers at the earliest,” inspector general of police (operations and intelligence) S.N. Pradhan said.

Two Dhruv choppers, meant to be used in the state, are now at their manufacturers, the Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautical Limited, for maintenance.

One of them, managed and maintained by the BSF’s air wing for anti-Naxalite operations in the state, has been at HAL for over a month now for a Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)-mandated scheduled inspection.

Another Dhruv chopper, bought by the state in 2007-08 under police modernisation fund, has been there since January for similar inspection and maintenance work.

All Dhruv choppers are slated for a scheduled inspection after every 500 hours of flying. According to BSF air wing sources, inordinate delay in carrying out these inspections on the part of HAL and DGCA was proving to be costly for the state. Early September, the Union home ministry had promised two MI-17 choppers to the state.