Air Marshal assures Arunachal CM on ration sorties

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Itanagar, Aug 14 (UNI) Commander-in-Chief of Indian Air Force's Eastern Command Air Marshal S K Bhan has assured Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu to expedite the process with Indian Army for obtaining permission for private helicopters to drop ration sorties at Mago and Thingbu helipads under Tawang district in the state.

Mr Bhan called on the Chief Minister here to discuss on the air sorties allotted for dropping food grains in the interior inaccessible areas as well as issues pertaining to the maintenance of existing aircraft landing grounds (ALGs) in the state, informed official sources today.

Both the helipads, at heights of over 13,000 ft, were constructed by the state government and are currently used by the Indian Army.

Mr Khandu had requested the Air Marshal to initiate steps for permitting private choppers for dropping ration in these border villages, the sources said.

The Air Marshal requested the Chief Minister to endorse a copy of the memorandum Mr Khandu had submitted to Union Defence Minister A K Antony regarding refuelling facility at Tawang so that the matter could be pursued in earnest,they said.

The Air Marshal also informed Mr Khandu about the need for maintaining the existing state owned ALGs until the Defence formally took over the maintenance part through a memorandum of understanding.

He further apprised Mr Khandu of the number of ration sorties allotted to the state government and urged him to avail the benefit. Extending his gratitude to the AOC for rendering timely support and help at the times of disaster in Itanagar in May last, the Chief Minister urged him to initiate steps for engaging bigger sorties for dropping sufficient food and other commodities in the natural calamity affected areas in Arunachal Pradesh, the sources added.

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