Govt to user choppers to support Naxal operations

Govt to user choppers to support Naxal operations

"The helicopters would be used in the left wing extremism affected areas of the country i.e. states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, for the purpose of evacuating casualties, search and rescue operations, movement of troops and surveillance," the ministry said.

The decision to use helicopters in non-combat operations in Naxal-affected areas was taken by government nearly a year ago and currently choppers from BSF and Air Force are being used for such operations.

The EoI shall be followed by a tender process for selection of the chartered company for wet lease, which provides for a chopper, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance. However, response to this EoI, last date for which is October 20, 2010, does not entitle the responder to receive any documents or to be invited to bid for the services subsequently, it said.

Making clear that the responders may be subject to national security clearance, Joint Secretary in MHA for Naxal management Kashmir Singh said eligibility to participate in the bidding process may depend on grant of such clearance.

Under the scope of services, the ministry has said the helicopters should be either MI-17 series or of equivalent capability and the number of helicopters required is 13 with the option of hiring at least six.

It also said the choppers should be capable of day and night flying and should have a minimum airlift capability of 18-20 fully equipped and armed security personnel and fly to air destination at least for 400 kms away (or 200 kms one way and return) without refuelling.

The scope of services also talked about helicopters to have slithering facilities and preferably being armour-plated for the safety of crew, passengers and vital components of helicopters.

It said the operating crew would be provided by the charter company and must comply with DGCA prescribed qualifications. The operational control will be exercised by the MHA, it said.

The eligibility criteria required the company to be in the business of providing chartered services for the past three years and said the annual turnover of the company should be at least Rs 100 crore in the past four years solely from this business.

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