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KP’s govt seeks Rs150m to repair Rs500m helicopter
- Faqeer Hussain
- Sep 04, 2023
PESHAWAR: In stark contrast to the mounting fiscal crisis faced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the caretaker provincial government has embarked on a venture beyond apprehension by formally requesting the finance department to allocate a large sum for the repair of a grounded helicopter.
The KP’s interim government has sought an astounding Rs150 million from the beleaguered finance department to resuscitate a French-made helicopter used by the chief minister— an expenditure that has raised eyebrows. It is worthy to mention that the CM already has a bigger and operational helicopter under his use.
Sources privy to the matter told HUM News English that the KP’s administration department recently issued tenders to foreign firms for the procurement of hardware, generator parts, and other equipment for the French-made ECUREUIL helicopter via an open tender process.
The said helicopter has reportedly been out of commission due to technical faults for an extended period.
It’s worth noting that the ECUREUIL helicopter was originally acquired in 2008 at a cost of Rs500 million and has undergone multiple repairs at the provincial government’s expense. However, the aviation directorate of the administration department has now requested to release Rs150 million funds from the finance department to facilitate the repair and equipment procurement.
KP government sources have further disclosed that the annual operating cost for the two helicopters assigned to the KP chief minister amounts to an astonishing Rs100 million.
Separately, it was revealed that in 2019, the KP chief minister’s Russian-made helicopter also faced operational difficulties and was sent to Russia for refurbishment and was returned to the KP government after three long years.
Notably, this specific inoperable helicopter was extensively utilised by PTI chief for his past travels, leading both to its grounding and the filing of a reference against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Subsequently, the PTI provincial government, during its final days, enacted legislation aimed at shielding the PTI chief from potential NAB actions.
Previously, interim information minister had said that “Today, the province’s financial state is so dire that the interim provincial government lacks funds even for salaries,” when asked about audit request of funds utilised in war on terror in the province.