Kerala Government Hires Private Helicopter To Transport Organs, Opposition Flays It For ‘Exorbitant’ Expenditure

Kerala Government Hires Private Helicopter To Transport Organs, Opposition Flays It For ‘Exorbitant’ ExpenditureKerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. 
  • Vijayan government’s move to hire a private helicopter to transport internal organs for transplant draws flak.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s decision to hire a helicopter from a private organisation to transport internal organs of humans for transplant has led to a controversy, with the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) questioning the move.

Malayalam daily Kerala Kaumudi reported that senior UDF and Congress leader Oommen Chandy has questioned the hiring of the helicopter at a monthly rent of Rs 2 crore.

The criticism comes after the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) government-led LDF government gloated over transportation of a live heart, harvested from a brain dead women, from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi in 40 minutes on Saturday (9 May).

Chandy’s criticism comes after the helicopter had been idling, with the UDF finding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s government at fault for paying Rs 4 crore rent for the last two months for nothing.

The Congress leader said that when the UDF government launched the scheme in 2015, it had hired a naval helicopter to transport a heart from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi paying Rs 1 lakh.

“The (Communist) government did not go forward with the scheme. Instead, it hired a helicopter at an exorbitant monthly rent and used it for the first time on Saturday,” he said adding the expenses of renting the copter were also to meet the crew maintenance.

Chandy said as per government’s rules, the state government can hire a naval helicopter to transport human internal organs after getting the Centre’s permission. “I remember signing an order for such transportation at 1.30 am,” he said.

The UDF has begun scrutinising every expenditure made by the Vijayan government and is of the view that Kerala government is spending needlessly, including hiring advisers for ministries.

The opposition is questioning such expenditure when the state is facing a financial crunch. Return of non-resident Indians, particularly belonging to the state, due to the coronavirus situation could further accelerate the problem.

Nearly three million people from Kerala are employed abroad, mainly the Gulf, and repatriation of their incomes makes up 40 per cent of the state gross domestic product.

Total foreign remittances are estimated to be around Rs 75,000 crore. Kerala has a public debt of over Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani


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