SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh government, it appears, has “issues” with the brand-new Russian helicopter Mi-171A2, received from Sky One Company in May 2021. The green signal to acquire the helicopter on an hourly contract of Rs 5.10 lakh was given following trials in Delhi in April last year.
However, several glitches are learnt to have been reported in the helicopter and the government doesn’t seem to be in a mood to take any chances when it comes to the flying security of its VVIPs, including the Chief Minister and the Governor. More so after the death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu about a month ago.
General Bipin Rawat along with his wife and other top Army officers were flying on a Russian machine, Mi-17V5.
After Gen Rawat’s death, the state government raised concerns about the helicopter with the manufacturing company, following which it was decided that the contract with Sky One be terminated.
The government had already given a notice to terminate the agreement to Sky One, but now it has been ratified by the cabinet.
The helicopter was grounded four times due to technical faults. There has been a problem in its gearbox and even the company’s own pilots are unable to understand it.
It is believed that the government will now again opt for a Pawan Hans helicopter. However, it isn’t clear yet if the government would float a tender or go with the same rate.
Do visit www.newindian.in for exclusive video stories from hinterlands of India.