NEW DELHI, April 23 � Waking up to the allegations of tardy maintenance of its helicopter fleet, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Saturday asked Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to immediately work on a five-point plan of action to ensure safety of helicopter operations in the country in the wake of a helicopter accident at Tawang on April 19.
According to an official spokesman, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked DGCA to launch a reassurance drive in order to ensure that all helicopters are being operated and maintained in accordance with the approved procedures and with safety aspect in place.
The DGCA would have to ensure that examiners of helicopters conduct special checks of the line pilots under overall supervision of DGCA in a time bound manner. It has to now undertake immediate assessment of helipads, particularly in critical areas, where helicopter operations are undertaken in a drive mode.
The DGCA will have to ensure implementation of monitoring and review of safety regulations to be implemented by State Governments. Further, it to make an external assessment of overall safety standards of helicopter operations in respect of operators involved in operation in critical areas.
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Government has set up a Committee of Inquiry to look into the circumstances leading to the copter crash. The State Government has also made known its anger against Pawan Hans for ignoring its plea for replacing its fleet of copters.
The Committee of Inquiry headed by Air Marshal (retd) PP Rajkumar to inquire into the circumstances of accident of Pawan Hans helicopter at Tawang has Air Commodore (retd) Rai Krishan and Wing Commander (retd.) Rabinder Singh, as members and M.J. Singh, Deputy Director of Air Safety, as Secretary to the Committee.
The Committee would also take assistance of other experts and agencies, whenever required. The headquarters of the Committee would be at New Delhi. The Committee would complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Central Government, within three months.
Meanwhile, Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited has announced an interim compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the deceased and Rs.50, 000 for the injured. Final compensation shall, however, be determined as per law. Seventeen people, including three crew members were killed and six others were injured in the crash.