RTI query reveals whopping expenditure on Govt. aircraft that are lying idle

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*Rs. 35.52 Cr spent in a period of 35 months by the Governor,Chief Minister & Finance Minister of Maharashtra on a private aircraft; whereas, Rs. 9.09 Cr spent only on maintenance of official aircraft that are lying idle and gathering dust*

Concerned by a couple of life-threatening air-mishaps from which the Chief Minister fortunately escaped unhurt in recent past, Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad (HVP) made an effort to look into the expenditure pattern of Government of Maharashtra on engaging the private aircraft. The queries raised by Adv. Virendra Ichalkaranjikar (President of HVP) under RTI received the following response from the Directorate of Aviation, Government of Maharashtra:

1. During the period from 1.4.2015 to 17.2.2018 (35 months), three persons viz Governor of Maharashtra, Chief Minister and Finance Minister hired private aircraft and helicopters from M/s. Arrow Aircraft Sales & Charters Pvt. Ltd. and M/s. Adonis Aviation Enterprises for which charges of Rs. 35.52 Crores were paid to these two firms/companies.

2. Media reports revealed that during the same period, Aircraft and helicopters owned by the Government were lying unused and gathering dust as they were not being utilised due to their non-viable condition. Hence RTI query was raised about the expenditure incurred for maintainance of State-owned Aircraft which were grounded. Response to RTI query showed that expenditure of Rs. 9.09 Crores was incurred on mere upkeep and maintenance of the Aircraft lying unused.

Thus the total expenses work out to Rs. 44.61Crores for 35 months giving an average of Rs. 4.23 lacs per day. On the one hand, rulers preach public about austerity and on the other, crores of rupees are spent on aircraft without making any use of the same. Therefore, it becomes apparent that rulers have no realisation that the Government is run on the money paid by the people as taxes. If such expenses are incurred by the Government from the taxes paid by the public, for which purpose should the taxes be paid honestly, questioned, Adv. Virendra Ichalkaranjikar.

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