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Arunachal MP demands new copter on Guwahati-Tawang route

Itanagar , Fri, 29 Apr 2011 ANI

Itanagar, Apr 29(ANI): Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Pradesh, Takam Sanjoy, today demanded Pawan Hans Helicopter Services Limited (PHHL) to deploy a new chopper for the immediate resumption of service on the Guwahati-Tawang route.


The helicopter service on the Guwahati-Tawang route was suspended in the wake of three probes being over a Pawan Hans chopper crash on April 19, killing 17 people and injuring six.


Sanjay told ANI on Friday that a three-member team of PHHL led by its executive director Sanjeev Bhal, head of engineering Deepak Kapoor and head of operations R T H Mahal called on the Member of Parliament here on Thursday evening and had a threadbare discussion on the issue that has been agitating the minds of the people of the state.


"I have asked the authorities to deploy a new chopper on the route, as Tawang is a popular tourist destination and people should not suffer due to suspension of the service. The Arunachalees who are dependent for their livelihood on tourism shouldn't be affected due to suspension of the service," he added.


The 14-year-old MI 172, which had cancelled its routine passenger flight to Seppa on April 17 to undergo maintenance, had reportedly caught fire midair over Tawang on April 19 while flying from Guwhati with 17 passengers and five crew members. It dashed against the heliport wall and blast into flames causing the tragedy.


Expressing resentment at the announcement of rupees one lakh ex-gratia for the deceased by the PHHL, he told the team that it should have been at least Rs 2 lakh, and asked to ensure early payment of Rs 7.5 lakh by the New India Insurance Company to victims.


The PHHL has been operating five helicopters across Arunachal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past nine years. It is one of the major lifelines of the landlocked Arunachal Pradesh.


Sanjoy, who has been vociferously taking up the issue with the Government of India, particularly the Defence Ministry after the MI 17 IAF chopper crash at Tawang on November 19 last year that had killed all 12 defence personnel, including three pilots, said that nothing should to left to chance after the investigation reports are submitted.


He had also called on Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on April 21 and in a letter demanded to fix the accountability for poor maintenance and mandatory inspections of the chopper services as per DGCA rules.


As per demands made by the Arunachal MP in his memorandum to Ravi, the ministry advised DGCA to immediately take actions with a view to ensure safety of helicopter operations in the country and launch a reassurance drive to ensure that all copters are being operated and maintained in accordance with the approved procedures. (ANI)


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