6 BSF choppers lying idle for 8 years: CAG

Six MI-17 helicopters purchased by the Union Home Ministry in 2003 at a cost of Rs 125.29 crore were parked at Delhi’s Safderjung airport from December 2010. In the last eight years, these helicopters flew only for 5,787 hours as against the projected utilisation of 18,900 flying hours.

“Purchasing helicopters without proper planning, infrastructure and manpower in place had led the BSF to spend close to Rs 40 crore for hiring IAF helicopters, meeting the operational cost and paying the parking fee levied by the Airports Authority of India,” the Comptroller and Auditor General said in its report tabled in Parliament earlier this week.

Though the government has sanctioned close to 100 new posts for BSF air operations, including 64 posts which were kept for IAF personnel on deputation or reemployment basis, only seven officers were willing to join the BSF as on June 2004.

Since the helicopters were to be parked at Srinagar, Jammu, Bhuj, Assam and Tripura, money was sanctioned for establishing ground infrastructure. But none came up in the last eight years due to non-availability of land and the agency’s failure to identify alternate land.

When the helicopters were delivered between September and December 2003, the BSF did not have the manpower as well as ground infrastructure.

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