Gandhinagar: The purchase of an aircraft for Rs 191-crore by the BJP government in Gujarat for the use of the chief minister and other dignitaries is turning heads with the opposition hauling it over the coals and the ruling party defending the move.
The criticism is more pronounced since the induction of the luxury jet comes at a time when farmers of the state are under distress due to unseasonal rains damaging crops and demanding for compensation or crop insurance relief. Farmer suicides due to crop failure have also been reported.
The swanky twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 650 which has a flying range of 7,000 km and can carry 12 passengers is slated to be delivered within a fortnight.
“The Bechcraft Super King 200 Turboprop that it will replace has outlived its flying life having been in service for over 20 years,” official sources said. The present state plane seats eight and has a speed of 580 kmph as against 890 kmph of the new acquisition.
With the old plane becoming a ‘risky preposition’, it was being used only for short hauls with the Gujarat government hiring a private jet for longer journey which was learnt to be costing almost a lakh of rupees per hour.
Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda had hauled the ruling party over the coals for splurging public money. “VVIP culture has taken off in the BJP in right earnest.
Public money is being blown while the farmers of the state are facing a distressful situation due to unseasonal rains leading to largescale damage to crops.
They are yet to be paid any compensation or insurance while the state is splurging Rs 191 crores for the travel of the chief minister in luxury,” he tweeted.