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    Published On : Sun, Jul 9th, 2017

    Maharashtra government suspends helicopter travel for VIPs

    Mumbai: After Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis narrowly escaped a potential chopper accident at Alibaug on Friday, the state government has decided to suspend helicopter travel for him and other VIPs until a probe is conducted and a protocol fixed.

    This means Fadnavis will have use a government plane. He will have cars at his disposal for travel to nearby areas and to those where a plan cannot land.

    A high-power committee headed by chief secretary Sumit Mullick decided to suspend helicopter travel hours after a private chopper unexpectedly took off just seconds before the CM was about to board it. Alert guards pulled him away from the chopper’s spinning blades.

    The incident comes weeks after a state-owned helicopter crash -landed at Nilanga minutes after it took off. The CM and other officials on-board escaped without major injuries.

    The state government’s civil aviation department and home officials will look into why this happened. If they need help, the director general of civil aviation will step in, said sources.

    Two state-owned helicopters have been grounded and officials are now relying entirely on empanelled agencies to fly them.

    “We have decided to suspend helicopter operations for the CM until the probe is completed,” captain Sanjay Karve, director, state civil aviation department, told media.

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