Nagpur Flying Club grounded since 2 years, HC told

Nagpur: The popular Nagpur Flying Club (NFC), which was reopened in 2008 after a gap of fourteen years, remained grounded since the last couple of years due to the Maharashtra government’s apathy.

Apart from failing to provide aspiring pilots with new aircraft and simulator for training, the government also did not appoint a chief flying instructor (CFI) since 2016.

The petitioner, who has been campaigning for the club’s revival since 2003, once again moved an application in the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Thursday, praying for directives to the respondents, including the Maharashtra government and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to immediately fill up the CFI’s post to pave the way for restarting NFC’s operations.

A division bench comprising justices Sunil Shukre and Pushpa Ganediwala issued notices to the respondents asking them to reply by June 13. State General Administration Department (GAD) secretary, Nagpur divisional commissioner, civil aviation director, retired deputy divisional commissioner MHA Khan and flight instructor in Hyderabad — Capt SMA Salam have been made respondents in the case.

The first petition (No. 4920/2003) was filed by Flight Lt (retired) Shridhar Ghatate through counsel Shriniwas Deshpande after which the NFC was revived in 2008. When it stopped operating for the same reasons in 2016, he again moved a PIL (No13/2016), which is pending. However, after his death, his wife Sumedha, who was a former NFC secretary, replaced him.

The petitioner contended that the government had issued four advertisements for CFI’s appointment and also conducted interviews in Mumbai on December 27, but failed to appoint a candidate till date. A panel comprising principal secretary of civil aviation had appointed Capt Shivkumar Jaiswal for the post. A statement was issued in the media, but Jaiswal is yet to get his appointment letter.

Compared to the other flying clubs in India, the petitioner pointed out that NFC was offering a meagre salary to the CFI.

In 2006-2007, the government had passed a resolution stating that the CFI’s salary would be hiked to 3 lakh per month plus additional perks. Accordingly, Capt M Dhanraj was appointed on March 3, 2008. He continued till February 15, 2010. He was followed by Capt Bimal Kumar from February 16, 2010 to May 21 2011. On November 24, 2011, Capt Salam took charge and continued till November 23, 2015. He was removed after allegations of corruption were levelled against him.

Kumar was recalled, but he too met with the same fate.
26/04/19 Vaibhav Ganjapure/Manan Daga/Times of India

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