For an “Austere” Prime Minister, Far Too Many (and Costly) Helicopter Rides

But that’s the contradictory and hypocritical nature of Baburam Bhattarai. Can the Mustang-rider PM reveal the source of his party’s income to pay for his choppers fare?

By Siromani Dhungana

And the earth is round! Russian Mi-17 and French AS332 Super Puma helicopters were used by the then governments to fight against the decade-long Maoist insurgency (1996-2006) The story has taken a twist now and rebellion-turned-Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has been one of the frequent users of these flying machines.

Hiring these choppers cost from Rs 0.42 million to more than Rs 0.44 million for an hour, but that does not seem to deter our Mustang-rider Bhattarai from hiring helicopters for campaigning in favor of his party UCPN Maoist.

PM Bhattarai has spent Rs 19.09 million in chopper after assuming charge of the Prime Minister’s office in August 29‚ 2011, reports Kantipur Television.

He has chartered AS332 Super Puma and MI-17 helicopters of Nepal Army Air Wing for 23 times since August 2011. Dr Bhattarai, however, has cleared the chopper fair only once.

In September 2011, PM Bhattarai had said that his party would bear the cost of chartered flights that he takes to attend programs organized by the party. Speaking before the then State Affairs Committee of the parliament, the PM said the state would not have to bear the financial burden of his visits to party programs. Continue reading For an “Austere” Prime Minister, Far Too Many (and Costly) Helicopter Rides

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