Mumbai : The State Government has decided to repair and start reusing its old Dauphin helicopter. The decision would save over Rs 100 crore to the exchequer, officials have said.

However, the decision was opposed by Shiv Sena ministers in the cabinet, sources said.

Is it necessary to spend Rs 24 crore on repairing the chopper while the state is going through a crisis in the form of drought, a minister asked at the cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday.

The minister is also learnt to have questioned the propriety of the decision to spend more money than the cost of the helicopter on repair.

With the decision to repair the Dauphin helicopter at a cost of Rs 24 crore, the government will save Rs 100 crore it would have otherwise spent on acquiring a new helicopter, an official said after the meeting.

The Dauphin, at present grounded, was acquired in 2001 for Rs 23 crore. Its usage declined and subsequently stopped after government acquired a Sikoesky S76C chopper in December 2011.

It was supposed to have undergone a rehaul and an inspection which is mandatory after 10 years of use. It would have cost Rs 12 crore to the government. But, since no decision was made in this regard, the chopper remained grounded for over three years, an official at the CMO said.

A new chopper would cost around Rs 100 crore, while repairing the old one will ensure its services for 10-15 more years.

It will also help the state government to save Rs 8 crore that is spent on hiring choppers for VVIPs visiting the state as well as Rs 18 crore for anti-Maoist initiatives of the home department at Gadchiroli, the official added.

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