Yeddyurappa is a frequent chopper hopper

Govt to call for global tenders to acquire new helicopters on a short term basis

The helicopter that he has been using is not an advanced one and and has no night vision facilities. Besides, it cannot be flown in rainy or bad weather conditions.

Yeddyurappa is presently hiring Augusta helicopter (5+2 seater and double engine) from Delhi-based OSS Aviation Pvt Ltd.

Official sources said there are several instances where Yeddyurappa has travelled in the helicopter in the evening hours, risking his life. The Government incurs around Rs one crore expenditure per month for hiring the helicopter for the Chief Minister.

New lease

Now, in the interest of the Chief Minister’s safety, the department of Personal and Administrative Reforms has decided to shortly call a global tender inviting aviation companies to provide helicopter service to the CM under the “wet lease” (short term) basis. The agreement with the OSS Aviation will end this month end, sources said.

Among the tender conditions, the DPAR has made it mandatory for the service provider to use only an advanced helicopter with all safety facilities. Besides, the service provider will be responsible for maintenance of the machine, including hiring trained pilots.

Proposal to purchase

The Government also has plans to purchase its own helicopter. Though a proposal has been put up for this purpose, the final decision has not been taken yet. Hiring pilots and helicopter maintenance is a tough task.

The Government has had a bitter experience twice in the past. It has bought two helicopter -- Chetak and Dolphin. But due to non-availability of pilots and lack of maintenance, the Government was forced to sell them off at a throw away price.

Bellary mining lords use them too

The mining boom and helicopters go together in Karnataka. It is only mining tycoons who own helicopters in the State. With China importing abundant ore from Bellary in the early 2000, a handful of mine owners turned politicians began hitting headlines with their wealth.

Mining lords in Bellary who own helicopters include Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy, legislators Anand Singh, Santosh Lad, and Rajya Sabha member Anil Lad. 

Janardhana Reddy, who was a close associate of AP CM late Y S Rajashekara Reddy, owns two helicopters  -- a 14-seater advanced Bell chopper with night vision facility and another 5-seater Bell. He is the only individual who owns an advanced chopper in the State and frequently uses it to travel. Recently, his political mentor Sushma Swaraj travelled in the Reddy’s advanced chopper to reach Mumbai from Bellary during the night hours.

Sandur’s Santosh Lad, Congress MLA from Kalaghatagi also uses helicopter frequently. Besides a Bell five-seater chopper, he owns an aviation company - Crescent Air Cargo.

Anand Singh, BJP MLA from Vijayanagar owns a helicopter. Janardhana Reddy has been insisting Singh to purchase more helicopters so that it could be used for heli-tourism.

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