GUWAHATI, April 22 � The North East Students� Organisation (NESO) today demanded a halt of Pawan Hans helicopter services between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in the aftermath of the chopper crash that killed 17 people close to the Tawang helipad on April 19.
Gunjum Haider, secretary general of NESO in a press conference held here mentioned that the helicopters flown by Pawan Hans are old, and supporting infrastructure is grossly inadequate in all the helipads in Arunachal Pradesh.
�So many aircraft crashes have taken place in Arunachal Pradesh, and yet there has not been any initiative to improve safety norms. This has put at risk the lives of innocent people who have to rely on Pawan Hans helicopters,� he said, demanding that a new fleet of choppers be introduced.
Significantly, Haider pointed out that helipads currently in use across the State do not even have fire fighting equipment. �Precious lives could have been saved if there was firefighting equipment stationed near the helipad in Tawang,� he remarked.
He contrasted this with developments across the Mac Mahon line, where the Chinese have made rapid strides in developing their transport infrastructure. China has built better communication lines and have also laid high-altitude landing grounds for its aircraft, he added.
The student leader demanded steps are taken to improve the situation not just in air transport, but also in surface communication.
Addressing the media, NESO chairman Dr Samujjal Bhattacharjya expressed his dismay that neither Pawan Hans nor the Director General of Civil Aviation has responded to the tragedy in a responsible manner. The Assam Government and Arunachal Pradesh Government too have failed to take stock of the present situation.