Sunday, February 22, 2015

India: No takers for state government planes

LUCKNOW: The UP government's plan to sell off one old aircraft and two choppers has crash landed, thanks to recession in the civil aviation sector. Dumped in the hangars of Amausi airport, the Premier 1A aircraft, Chetak and Bell 230 choppers will now be put up for sale again, sources in the civil aviation department said.

The Premier 1A aircraft, that crash-landed with cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav and one other senior minister in 2012, has been put up for sale at least three times. So is the case with Chetak and Bell helicopters which have been found wanting for a buyer.

"However, no companies came up with a respectable amount. The recession in the industry is to be blamed for this," said a government official. The department has again sought a bid for the three till February 25.

The sale coincides with the state government's plans to buy new aircraft and choppers to fly its VIPs.

Purchased during the tenure of former chief minister Mayawati in 2008 at an estimated cost of over Rs 40 crore, the six-seat aircraft, Premier-1A (VT-UPN), has not been used since it skidded off the runway at IGI airport in Delhi in 2012, leaving the top brass of the civil aviation department red-faced.

The department has since been inviting bids from private consultants to evaluate the aircraft. It has been keenly seeking 'valuers' who are registered as surveyors with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority for providing 'market realizable value' for four aircraft and a chopper along with their spare parts, rotables, etc.

The six-seater Chetak helicopter, manufactured by HAL, has been waiting for a suitable buyer since 2009 when it was last flown. Likewise, the Bell helicopter, which was last flown in March 2014, has been put up for sale on two occasions.

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