By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: After a gap of fifteen months, the Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited on Thursday resumed its service in the State.
The Meghalaya government suspended operations of Pawan Hans choppers on April 30, 2011 after a helicopter carrying then Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu crashed.
Marking the resumption of the service, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma flew from Guwahati to the Indian Air Force Air Landing Ground at Upper Shillong along with officials of Pawan Hans.
Dr Sangma was returning to Guwahati from New Delhi.
Allaying fears regarding the safety norms followed by Pawan Hans, Dr Sangma said the helicopters they were operating were technically sound.
He informed that under the MOU, it has been agreed that the helicopters that the company will be operating in the State will be of under five years old and will not have completed over 5000 hours of flying.
The Chief Minister said as per the MOU, Pawan Hans would train 10 selected youths from the state in aircraft maintenance engineering.
The Pawan Hans will now be operating a twin engine Dauphin aero special helicopter with trained and experienced crew.
As per the bid, the State Government will pay a fixed monthly charge (FMC) of Rs 62,96,000 and hourly flying charges of (HFC) of Rs 63,160, adding the State Government will get 75 percent of the outgo on the service from the Ministry of Home Affairs under a special scheme for the North East region.
The CMD of Pawan Hans Anil Srivastava assured that the company will take utmost care for the security of the passengers, adding the company has plans to expand its infrastructure in the region.
He said the company has “equipped” its flying machines with latest aviation technology conforming to latest safety standards and has adopted “stringent” safety measures to prevent any mishap in the mountainous northeastern region.
“We assure everybody that we will be taking utmost care in the safety of passengers as this is our prime priority,” Srivastava said.
Srivastava said the company would open another operational office at Guwahati shortly.
According to him, Pawan Hans will be initiating operations in Mizoram shortly and that it will participate in the bidding process r when the government of Arunachal Pradesh floats the invitation.
Initially, the choppers will be operated between Shillong-Guwahati-Tura and depending on demands the services may be extended upto Jowai.