Raipur, 25 May-2014, TNN: State govt may be finding it difficult to recruit doctors to improve its health care infrastructure but when it comes to flying state owned aircraft, there seems to be no dearth of aspirants. Nearly 20 applications have been received for the two vacancies advertised on May 3.
Though the state’s two machines, a King Air B-200 airplane and an Agusta-109 helicopter, are still being flown, they were under constant threat of being grounded as they were being operated with a bare minimum strength of four pilots. While the department has a sanctioned strength of six pilots, three each for the plane and the chopper, the recent resignation of two pilots, including chief pilot Captain DS Mishra, has made the situation dicey for the department.
According to sources, in the past couple of months there have been few occasions when pilots had to be hired on per-day contract basis to fly the aircraft. Officials said that as per the guidelines of director general of civil aviation (DGCA), minimum three pilots are required for a plane or a helicopter.
Sources said hiring pilots on a per-day contract basis costs the exchequer handsomely, as they charge almost three to four times the regular daily salary of pilot on rolls. In contrast, to the monthly salary of Rs 3,62,000, a pilot on per-day basis is paid almost Rs 30,000 plus costs of accommodation and expenses for traveling.
When contacted, aviation secretary RS Vishwakarma said that 19 applications were received for the post of senior pilots. Of these, 13 applications are for the plane and six for helicopter. He added that salaries paid by Chhattisgarh were the best, as compared to similar jobs in other states.