In rather good news for Nagaland and its people, the central government has sanctioned two new chopper services under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) subsidy. The choppers are being provided for 1,200 flying hours in a year.
Notably, there was only one helicopter service in the state so far. It was the commissioner and secretary Transport and deputy secretary Radha Rani who wrote a letter to the Government of India and stated that the only helicopter service in Nagaland was flying 480 hours per year. In this respect, the state needs two more chopper services flying 1,200 hours annually and henceforth, the government approved of the same.
The State transport minister P Paiwang Konyak is impressed at the prompt response of MHA and expressed his gratefulness towards the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his deputy Kiren Rijiju for their timely intervention.
While speaking to the media, Konyak said that the two choppers will be helpful in facilitating medical evacuations, VIP sorties and air travel for the people. He also added that these choppers will be of great help for air transportation during the days of natural calamities.
In case of hiring the additional private choppers, the ministry has directed the State government to follow proper competitive bidding process. In terms of hiring additional private choppers, the ministry has asked the state government to furnish certain information which is necessary for obtaining the approval of Standing Finance Committee (SFC) for hiring private choppers.
Such details and information to be furnished by the state government include the type of helicopter that government is thinking of hiring, the proposed routes of the choppers, the expected annual utilisation of flying hours, the fares for the passengers to be fixed, expected revenue generation from the passenger fares and estimated annual expenditure to incurred in hiring of an additional helicopter and so on. It is only based on such information provided that the central government will decide whether the state government will be allowed to hire private helicopter services or not.