Jharkhand government chief pilot serves resignation notice

July 16th, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, July 16 (IANS) Unhappy with his service conditions, Jharkhand government’s chief pilot Ajay Srivastav, who flies the only helicopter owned by the state, has served a resignation notice. Srivastav, in his resignation notice sent Tuesday, said: “The civil aviation department of the state is violating the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms.”

According to DGCA norms, a pilot should be given rest after six days of work. During those six days, he cannot fly more than 10 hours a day.

But, in Jharkhand, the helicopter is booked practically everyday for either Chief Minister Madhu Koda or his ministerial colleagues.

According to sources in the civil aviation department, Srivastav is trained for civil flying. The state government sometime uses him in anti-Maoist operations and Srivastav is not happy with that either.

Besides Srivastav, the other chopper pilot is Animesh Mukharjee.

In the last seven-and-a-half years since the state was carved out of Bihar, the Jharkhand government has bought one Dhruv helicopter, meant for anti-Maoist operations by the police.

But the chopper, bought from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for Rs.350 million, is now usually used by ministers. The police rarely get it for an anti-Maoist operation.

The helicopter was initially grounded in the absence of a trained pilot.

Ultimately, the civil pilot meant to fly chief minister and state ministers was assigned the job to fly the helicopter.

On Monday, the helicopter was booked in the name of Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Nalin Soren to fly to Dumka.

The minister, however, first went to Bokaro to pick up former central minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren. On Monday Shibu Soren had to appear in a case in a Dumka court related to violation of the model code of conduct.

When contacted, Chief Minister Madhu Koda said: “Do not blow the issue out of proportion.”

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