The state police in coastal areas are set to get wings soon, literally. The state home department has initiated the process to acquire helicopters in a bid to strengthen security along the vulnerable and highly porous Gujarat coastline.
According to officials, the home department would spend around Rs100 crore for the project, which would make Gujarat only the second state in the country after Delhi to have helicopters for police work.
“The home department has moved the proposal to acquire helicopters for improving security in coastal areas. We are expecting approval of the proposal from the government soon,” a senior official said, requesting anonymity.
Once the approval is received, the home department would begin the process to finalise technical requirements of the helicopters in consultation with police, which would be followed by initiating steps to acquire the choppers.
According to officials, the plan is to acquire one helicopter as part of the pilot project initially, and depending on its performance, eight or so more choppers will be purchased at a later stage. Each helicopter is expected to cost around Rs15 - 16 crore.
“The home department would spend around Rs100 crore to acquire the helicopters,” he said.
The project will be a part of the police modernisation, but the entire expenditure would be borne by the state government.
“This project does not fit into the scheme under which the Centre gives funds for police modernisation,” according to an official.
The technical specifications will be finalised later, but officials said that the helicopters will have twin engines and have the capacity to carry up to four passengers. However, they will also be able to carry large quantities of goods, which will make them useful even in times of disasters.
“Apart from coastal security, the helicopters could also be used during relief and rescue measures during emergencies, but the main purpose will be for security,” said an official.