Monday, September 04, 2017

Red-tape grounded aircraft for Rajnath Singh days before take-off

New Delhi: Days before Home Minister Rajnath Singh started for a two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on disaster prevention and relief at Choplon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic on August 24, a bureaucratic disaster of no small measure was averted by the government.
Even as the Home Ministry readied plans for Singh’s foreign visit, it found that his official aircraft, an Embraer under the operational control of the BSF, was in no position to fly. It wasn’t a technical snag that grounded the aircraft, rather a bureaucratic one — its licence to fly was under suspension.
It was only after frenetic appeals from the Home Ministry and some “pressure from the top” that the aircraft was cleared to fly in the nick of time.
The problem began on July 14 this year when the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) de-registered BSF’s Embraer aircraft under the Aircraft Act 1934.
This was done as the aircraft, despite being registered as a civilian one, was being flown by IAF pilots, who are military personnel. This arrangement meant that IAF pilots would have to take civilian licences under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) rules. That in turn would require appearing for licence exams and passing them.
04/09/17 Deeptiman Tiwary/Indian Express