Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his party Biju Janata Dal might have much answering to do with a controversy surrounding his excessive usage of helicopter service just before the 2014 general elections. Zee Kalinga, in an exclusive story reports, Naveen took 57 sorties to all the 30 districts of the state over just 83 days. The dates over which the information has been collected are 10 December 2013 to 5 March 2014. The total money paid for his rides came up to a whopping Rs 2.42 crore.
Interestingly, the chief minister used the helicopters till the date elections were declared. The opposition parties are now alleging that the tax payers' money was used for Navin’s pre-election campaign. Otherwise why would he need to frantically visit all the districts just before the elections?
The chief minister's office backed its requirements by saying all the visits were purely official. However, the agenda of the trips were mostly to lay stones for different populist projects. But his intentions become questionable as he has not made a single visit to any part of the state in 45 days after taking charge as the chief minister under the new government.
Before the elections, Naveen took chopper to places which were even 20-50 kms away from Bhubaneswar which demands the question that if the Finance department has imposed austerity on the governments, what could have been so urgent to require helicopters travels for such short distances. Even security concern does not seem to be valid enough to justify so many trips spending so much money.