Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Pawan Hans chopper with IAS Kamlesh Joshi on board goes missing in Tirap of Arunachal Pradesh

Kamlesh Joshi, IAS
A PAWAN HANS helicopter with deputy commissioner of Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district, Kamlesh Joshi on board went missing after taking off from the district headquarters Khonsa on Tuesday. Joshi, a 2010 batch AGMUT cadre IAS officer, joined as DC in this insurgency-infested district in June 2013. As this report is being written, as many as four choppers including two from…
Indian Army, and one each from Indian Air Force and state government of Arunachal Pradesh are engaged in the search operation in the dense forest of the area bordering Myanmar.
Joshi, who was ranked 61 in civil services examination 2009 before opting for IAS, was the lone passenger in the helicopter. Earlier, Joshi had served as the additional deputy commissioner at Namsai in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to reports, there were two pilots in the chopper which was on its way to Longding, a newly-created district of Arunachal Pradesh which was earlier a part of Tirap district. Air Traffic Control lost touch with the chopper at 11.15 am on Tuesday.  
NSCN (Khaplang), the anti-peace talk Naga insurgency group has a major stronghold in the area, but it is believed that the group has no role with the missing chopper. For the record, Tirap district borders with Myanmar, and Khaplang is a Naga who hails from Myanmar.
 As officials on the ground say, there was a bad weather condition on Tuesday forcing the chopper to disappear.
Only last month, Helicopter Association International (HAI) conferred state-run Pawan Hans Ltd with Operator Safety Award for "outstanding safety record".
It can be recalled that in April 2011, the then chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu died in a crash when he was travelling in a Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter. The same month also witnessed another crash that killed 19 people. In 2010, a Pawan Hans crew member fell to his death at Namsai when he tried to close a door that had flung open during a flight, according to a list of Pawan Hans accidents published in Wikipedia. In September 2004, a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed near Shillong in Meghalaya that killed the state’s then community and rural development minister Cyprian Sangma and two MLAs and a former deputy speaker.
Oil major ONGC has 49% stake in Pawan Hans whose net-worth is about Rs 3,700 crore.
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