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Thursday, August 11, 2011

CM OF A POOR STATE: Rs 11 cr spent on Omar sorties in two years!

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Mufti Islah, CNN-IBN / Posted on Aug 11, 2011 at 01:27pm IST.

New Delhi: Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is under Opposition fire after an RTI query showed his helicopter sorties cost the state Rs 11 crore in two years. Out of the 490 odd sorties, more than 40 have been carried to picnic spots across Kashmir.

Rs 11 crore spent from July 2009 to June 2011 and another Rs 54 lakhs on refreshments - Omar Abdullah has run up a maintenance and operation bill of helicopter sorties that the Opposition is now gunning after.

While the Opposition calls Omar Abdullah an airborne chief minister, he has defended himself saying a chopper is a necessity and not a luxury and that for better administrative purposes the machine is required to reach far and wide in the hostile mountainous terrain.

"As far as misusing the helicopter is concerned, clearly this helicopter flies only in the state, so any travel that I undertake is work-related travel. I will use the assets to reach out to the people," said Omar Abdullah.

The RTI was filed by 35-year-old Bashir Ahmad Malik who decided to hold the state chief minister accountable. Malik, who is illiterate and lives in the backward area of Khag in Budgam, said an incident actually led him to ask this question.

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