Thiruvananthapuram: Close on the heels of a row over the plan to hire helicopters, the Kerala Police is all set to buy three bulletproof cars, without calling a tender. The car of a Japanese company is being bought citing security reasons. It is estimated to cost Rs 1.5 crore in all.
The central funds granted for the police is being used to buy the cars.
The state currently has four bulletproof vehicles: two Tata Safari and two Mitsubishi Pajero. Two of the bullet-proof vehicles were bought last year at a cost of Rs 1.10 crore. These were also bought without calling tenders and 30 per cent advance was given.
The Home Department had then sought an explanation on the DGP's action to sanction advance amount. The reply to the Home Department said that the tender cannot be called due to security reasons.
Helicopter lease for whole year?
The Kerala Police's recent decision to hire helicopter had drawn flak. Though the helicopters were hired, citing Maoist threats, the talk even among senior police circles was that the chopper was hired for flying the Chief Minister and other ministers in comfort.
The government reportedly got expert advice that helicopter can be hired for use in relief efforts and for anti-Maoist operations.
Earlier, when CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the Home Minister, the police had tried to buy helicopters. However, this bid was abandoned after it ran into a controversy. Even during the floods last year, the police tried to buy a chopper for use in relief efforts. After all these attempts failed to materialise, now a chopper is being hired.
However, questions have been raised why helicopters need to be hired for all-year-round for tracking down Maoists. Some advise a chopper can be taken on daily rent if the need arises.
As much as Rs 1.44 crore is being splurged monthly for the chopper even when the state is facing a financial crisis. The chopper could be flown for 20 hours in a month for this amount. For every extra hour, an additional Rs 75,000 has to be given. As the move kicked up a storm, the government asked the Home Department to keep the order confidential.