Conrad Sangma | File photo

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on December 28 said that the question of procuring a chopper is “absolutely not at all feasible” keeping in mind the financial constraints of the state.

His statement came as a strong reaction to a news report alleging that the state government was all set to procure a chopper for VIP movement.

In a video statement, CM Conrad Sangma said that the fact is that Meghalaya has not come out with any kind of tender or shown any intention to procure a chopper because it is very expensive.

He said that the government has only called for a tender to lease the chopper services for VIP movement.

“We will be only giving out a tender for leasing. It is a short-term lease on a service basis and we pay on an hourly basis to the concerned company and that is the most efficient way in which we can serve the purpose and at the same time not incur too much of a heavy financial burden,” Sangma said.

He added: “We are implementing this procedure to ensure minimal disruption to the regular helicopter services catering to tourists and ordinary commuters traveling to Shillong, Tura, and Guwahati. Often, VIP movements disturb the normal operation of these services. By adhering to a structured leasing process, we can utilize the helicopter as needed, with the understanding that it is owned by the service providers. The pilots and fuel are also provided by them, and our payment is based on an hourly usage basis.”

“The procedure is very clear that we are going to be leasing out the chopper services and the payments will be made on an hourly basis so there is no question of procuring a chopper,” chief minister Conrad Sangma added.

“It is absolutely not feasible for us to procure a chopper as number one it is very expensive and two, maintaining it is very difficult and three, we need pilots to be recruited by the government so on and so forth so there is completely no need for it as VIPs movements are limited but at the same time I must say that choppers are sometimes necessary as it saves a lot of time and sometimes urgent movements need to be done by senior leaders and for all those purposes we do require the chopper but the usage is quite minimum,” he stated.

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