Raipur, August 19, 2008: Even after a fortnight there was no information about the Bell-430 Helicopter with four crew members on board, and the Chhattisgarh government today pulled up the IAF for its strategy to trace the missing copter.
We have no information so far about the Ranbaxy owned Bell-430 Helicopter, although search by ground and aerial forces continued for the last 15 days after it went missing since August 3 after taking off from Hyderabad, State Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan told the ChhattisgarhTopNews.Com here today.
We have alerted all the 25 police stations of Bastar region besides neighbouring districts for locating the missing copter with two pilots and two technical staff on board, the DGP said.
Meanwhile, state officials have expressed strong displeasure over the strategy deployed by the Indian Air Force for locating the twin-engine helicopter.
The work of IAF is not satisfactory. With the current pace of search it will take a month to trace the Bell-430 helicopter, a senior Aviation Department official said here.
The official, who was coordinating the search operation, said all the agencies involved in the search had also been lacking full dedication and more specifically the IAF was not adopting its own standard formation pattern to trace any missing copter.
Why the recce has been used as a training for the pilots and why the senior Air Force officers, who are experts in such search operation, are not deployed by the IAF, questioned the official.
It was the responsibility of the Centre and the Air Force to take the first steps in tracing any missing copter, but that was not happening with the Ran Air missing case, the official said.
Again, unlike the common practice, there is no recce operation under one command because of which Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and AIF are doing their part of job with out any coordination with others involved in the same job, he said.
There is every need to map the entire likely route of the Bell-430 to trace it, spread over Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and more specifically in the bordering area of both the states as the copter likely to have travelled 60 nautical miles before its missing, the top official said.
Before going for any recce there should be a briefing by the people, who have vast knowledge of the topography of that area, but that was not happening, because of which the copter is remained untraced, he said.
Despite several discussions, the Andhra Pradesh government and Indian Air Forces are taking off from their bases and returning back to their position with out coordinating with other aerial search parties, he said.
Even at the Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh level it was discussed to ask all the aerial and ground forces to make their base as Bastar in Chhattisgarh to trace the missing copter but that was not happening, the senior official said.
Supporting the state administration, the Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma also expressed his unhappiness at the pace of search.
It is not true that all the time the weather is unfavourable for recce. But due to laxity, unfortunately, the missing copter with the four crew members remained untraced, Karma told reporters here.
Had there been sincerity, the search would have been carried out with every first opportunity and the copter might have been traced, but that was not happening, the senior Congress leader said pulling up all the agencies involved in that, including the state government.
The missing helicopter of Ran Air was hired by the Chhattisgarh government to take its Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam to Jharkhand but before it landed in Raipur to take the VIP, the copter went missing.
The copter was having Chief Pilot Capt V P Singh and Co-Pilot R Gaur with Flight Engineer Santosh Kumar and Technician Ashwini Kumar on board when it went missing on August 3 last after take off from Hyderabad.
The Helicopter took off from Hyderabad at 3.00 PM on August 3 and was supposed to land at Jagdalpur at 4.30 PM for refuelling, but that never happened and all contacts with the copter were lost at about 4.00 PM and after that whereabouts of the Bell-430 was not known to either Andhra Pradesh or Chhattisgarh sides.
The help of the National Remote Sensing Agency also not yielded any result and finally large numbers of forces have been pushed into the jungles to carry out the search on the ground.
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