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New terminal of Umroi airport opened

By Correspondent

SHILLONG, June 25 � With chopper service suspended due to fatal crashes in the region, Union Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said crash investigation reports would throw light on the airworthiness of the choppers that were in service.

Ravi, who was here to inaugurate the new terminal of the Umroi airport, said only investigation reports would be able to throw light about allegations whether choppers with questionable airworthiness were being flown in the region. The chopper service was being operated by State-owned Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited.

�We are awaiting the investigation report of the chopper crash of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister,� Ravi said when asked about the allegations that old choppers were being used in the North-east leading to the crashes.

A three-member committee has been formed to probe into the circumstances that led to the crash of Dorjee Khundu�s chopper, where he along with four others died near Tawang last month.

The Government has also formed a Committee of Inquiry to probe the circumstances of April 19 chopper crash at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh that claimed the lives of 17 people.

In fact, the Ministry has constituted an Independent Accident Investigation Committee (IAIC) recently to probe air crashes in the country. However, the committee is bogged into controversy with media reports stating that �tainted and inexperienced people� were inducted.

�No names of the members of the committee have been decided so far. The media reports are not correct,� Ravi said.

Its been reported that the �tainted� Director (air safety) RS Passi from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and three other inexperienced people in their twenties were inducted as members of the IAIC.

Terming such reports as baseless, Ravi said, �we would have people in the committee with relevant experience in the field,� the minister stated.

Moreover, Ravi said the chopper service in the region would resume only after mapping of chopper routes throughout the country is completed.

The new terminal at Umroi has been built at a cost of Rs 30 crore having modern facilities and the Baljeck airport at Garo Hills would get a facelift soon, Ravi assured.

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