Gujarat Govt Spends Whopping ₹58 Crore On Aircraft Operations In 2 Years, Opposition Raises Concerns Over Appropriate Use Of Public Funds

Gujarat Govt Spends Whopping ₹58 Crore On Aircraft Operations In 2 Years, Opposition Raises Concerns Over Appropriate Use Of Public Funds

Responding to a question by Manavadar legislator Arvind Ladani, Civil Aviation Minister Balvantsinh Rajput revealed that the total expenditure on O&M, fuel, and salaries for pilots and staff amounted to ₹58,51,20,504.

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 02:49 PM IST
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Civil Aviation Minister Balvantsinh Rajput |

The Gujarat government on Monday informed the state assembly that it spent over ₹58.5 crore on the operation and maintenance (O&M) of its aircraft fleet, including two airplanes and a helicopter, in the two years leading up to December 31, 2023.

Responding to a question by Manavadar legislator Arvind Ladani, Civil Aviation Minister Balvantsinh Rajput revealed that the total expenditure on O&M, fuel, and salaries for pilots and staff amounted to ₹58,51,20,504. This translates to an average annual expense of nearly ₹29 crore.

Details On The Expenditure

For the calendar year 2022, the government spent ₹34,26,65,295 on operations, while the expenditure in 2023 was ₹24,24,55,209. However, details regarding the specific locations where O&M was carried out and the entities involved were withheld by the minister.

When pressed by Ladani about the secrecy surrounding O&M details, Rajput cited concerns about the security of high-ranking government officials who utilize the aircraft. He argued that disclosing such information could pose a potential security risk.

Opposition Questions Govt Over Usage Of Public Funds

This explanation has not satisfied some legislators and members of the public, who have raised questions about transparency and accountability. They argue that the government should be more forthcoming about how taxpayer money is being spent, even if security concerns exist.

"It is concerning that the government is withholding information about O&M, especially when it involves such a significant amount of public funds," said Ladani, an opposition MLA. "While security considerations are important, there should be a balance between transparency and protecting sensitive information."

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