An outstanding public debt of ₹1.7L crores, rising crime graphs, hooch deaths notwithstanding, Nitish Kumar to buy a new helicopter and jet engine aircraft
It is an irony that the Bihar government, which is struggling with mounting debt, is going to put more pressure on the exchequer with the decision to buy one helicopter and one jet engine-powered aeroplane for flying the VIPs and VVIPs.
The proposal was approved in the meeting of the Bihar cabinet on Tuesday, which was held under the chairmanship of Chief minister Nitish Kumar.
The decision came at a time when the state government recorded an outstanding public debt of ₹1,77,214.85 crores, according to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India report on Bihar’s finances for fiscal 2020-21 that was tabled in June.
According to the report, the state recorded a fiscal deficit of ₹29,827 crore during the fiscal year of 2020-21, an increase of ₹15,103 crore over the previous year. During 2020–21, the state suffered a revenue deficit of ₹ 11,325 crores for the second time since 2004-05.
According to document accessed by The New Indian, the Bihar government currently avails services of one King Air C 90A-B, VT-EBG for the state government.
Apart from the King Air C 90 aircraft, a Dauphin SA 365N, VT-ENU helicopter is also available to ferry high-profile individuals in the state.
The Bihar government reasoned that a helicopter is required owing to the short length of the runway located in the remote areas of the state and it can be easily operated on any helipad.
The government also said that the service of a jet engine aircraft is required due to the low seating capacity of C-90 aircraft for long-distance travel outside the state and the long travel time.
In addition, the government stated that the new aircraft will be used for administrative work, law enforcement, disaster relief, emergencies, and other state government functions.
The decision to splurge money on the luxury of VIPs and VVIPs will surely raise eyebrows at a time when the state is grappling with a rising crime rate. The Nitish Kumar government is also under fire for its inability to control the illicit liquor business in the state, which has resulted in more than 100 deaths in the state.