Citing threat from ‘extremists’, Andhra government approves two new helicopters for its CM Jagan

The brand new twin-engine helicopters will cost ₹1.91 crore each per month. Jana Sena, meanwhile, demanded an inquiry into the decision.

ByBhaskar Basava

Published Feb 23, 2024 | 6:57 PMUpdatedFeb 23, 2024 | 6:57 PM

CM YS Jagan in helicopter. (Supplied)

Acting on the warning of the state intelligence department regarding a threat to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh government approved the renting of two new helicopters for him on 22 February.

The Andhra Pradesh intelligence department perceives a threat to YS Jagan from left-wing extremist, terrorist, and fundamentalist elements.

According to the state intelligence, the chief minister, who is in the Z+ security category, also faces a general threat from organised criminal gangs and anti-social elements.

The intelligence recommended upgrading the chief minister’s helicopter, currently a BELL 412 VT-MRV dating back to 2010.

“Considering the increased usage of aircraft in various tour programs of the VIP, long-distance covered, and safety requirements of CM of AP, the current aircraft may be replaced with a new/alternative aircraft of better airworthiness,” the order by the department stated in an order dated 15 September, 2022.

Also Read: Why Jagan  is unperturbed over YSRCP lawmakers deserting him

Recommended new helicopters

Upon these recommendations, the managing director of the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corporation Limited (APACL) stated that two twin-engine helicopters, each less than two years old, were needed to meet the flying commitments of YS Jagan and other VVIPs.

In compliance with the government’s instructions, technical and financial bids were invited from various aviation organisations, and on 11 August, 2023, the technical tender bids were opened.

The three bidders were Global Vectra Helicopters, Thumby Aviation, and Rajas Aerosports and Adventures.

Upon reviewing the financial bids offered by these organisations, the Committee noted that Global Vectra Helicopters, quoting ₹1,91,75,000 per month for one helicopter, inclusive of all taxes, was the lowest bidder (L-1).

It was also mentioned that the helicopters would be positioned in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

The government, from APACL’s budget, will bear the remaining expenses, such as ground handling charges, accommodation charges for pilots in star hotels, logistics charges for pilots, fuel transportation charges, crew medicals, and ATC charges.

The government approved the proposal and issued orders to the finance department on 22 February, 2024.

Meanwhile, the political affairs committee chairman of the Opposition Jana Sena saw a conspiracy.

He stated that Jagan was depleting the coffers before his departure as the chief minister since the elections were very close. An inquiry should be conducted into the hiring of helicopters, as there is a conspiracy, he said.