Jaipur: An Agusta helicopter purchased by the Rajasthan government for Rs 30 crore in 2005 has become a burden for the state government now.
Finding no takers for its bid to sell the chopper, the state government is now ready to dispose it of for barely Rs 4 crore.
As per government sources, the chopper has been labelled as ‘jinxed’ ever since it developed a technical glitch in November 2011 with then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and others onboard. It has not been used since then.
Now, it has become a headache for the Rajasthan government as even after 11 attempts to sell it, the chopper has found no takers, government officials confirmed.
Recently, Chief Secretary Niranjan Arya at a high-level meeting decided to re-auction the Agusta helicopter and directed the concerned officials to submit fresh proposals in this regard.
However, the government has not found any buyer till date. The helicopter is parked at the state hanger in Jaipur since 2011, and is fast turning into junk.
Fresh tenders are now being invited for its sale along with spares and tools. The directorate of civil aviation has fixed its price at Rs 4.5 crore after failing to sell the chopper many times in the past.
The helicopter was procured during Vasundhara Raje’s first tenure as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan in 2005.
In 2011, it had to be grounded following a technical glitch during a flight with Gehlot onboard.
Officials said that since then, the chopper is considered ‘jinxed’ as it had put the life of Gehlot at risk.
The twin-engine A109E power helicopter was procured at a cost of Rs 30 crore from the Italian firm AgustaWestland.