<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has directed its department handling VIP security to draft helipad location and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for helicopter landing permissions. A Inspector General (IG) level officer has been tasked to prepare the SOPs. “The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) have already taken cognizance of the helicopter crash at Nilanga in Latur district involving me,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said. He was speaking in the legislative council while replying to supplementary queries raised by Sharad Ranpise, Sanjay Dutt (Congress) and others. Cutting across party lines, members in the legislative council expressed concern over the back to back helicopter mishaps involving the chief minister. Just days after the May 25 mishap at Nilanga, a similar incident of the helicopter used by the chief minister took place at Raigad. Raising supplementary query on his starred question Ranpise (Congress) wanted the government to bring out a book laying down guidelines for helicopter helipads and landing. Replying to the debate, Fadnavis, while thanking the members for showing their concern for his personal safety and well being, admitted that at present the government has no policy guidelines laid down for helipads and helicopter landing and take-offs. “A policy draft is ready and is currently being vetted by civil aviation experts. The policy shall be applicable to chief minister, ministers, leader of the opposition and other VIPs,” Fadnavis said. He added that there are many old helipads which are being used for ages now, but the surroundings have changed now with high rise buildings coming up and trees growing in their vicinity. Fadnavis said that the government has ordered an safety audit to be undertaken of all such old in use helipads in the state. Referring to the DGCA probe into the Latur chopper crash, he stated that the flying license of Captain Sanjay Karve and co-pilot Mohit Sharma have already been suspended by the DGCA, New Delhi. Replying to further queries, he said that captain Karve has already proceeded on long leave and there is no question of him influencing the on-going probe. Referring to the Raigad mishap, the chief minister said that he too was surprised as to how such an experienced pilot with so many hours of flying experience would have committed such a mistake. “Even before me and Minister for School Education Vinod Tawde could board the helicopter the pilot had started the rotor blades of the chopper and took off even before we had boarded it,” he said. Fadnavis added that the government will go in for hiring a helicopter on short term lease before it purchases chopper for its own VIP use. Raising a supplementary query, Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt said that many times pressure is exerted on the pilots to fly the helicopter at short notice ignoring the possibility of inclement weather conditions. He added that the DGCA does not have enough staff to inspect the air worthiness of the helicopters used by the government for its VIPs. To this, Fadnavis replied that the government shall consider the suggestions made by Dutt.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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Maha working on SOPs book on helipad location, landing policy