The government’s efforts to provide respite to farmers struggling without rain through cloud seeding might hit a legal hurdle. One of the four aircraft to be used for the purpose is unlikely to get clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has earlier denied permission to one such plane for the project.
While the Karnataka government has awarded the Rs 30-crore project to Hoysala Projects, two other firms with valid licences to operate aircraft have been roped in to provide the service. The first one was to bring three planes and the second company one. But the former’s request for permission for one of the three planes was denied as it was aged 25 years. DGCA regulations stipulate that the maximum age of aircraft for temporary import from a foreign firm should be 18 years.
Documents with TOI show that the second firm has now sought permission to bring in an aircraft – Piper Cheyenne Aircraft N 361 JC – manufactured in 1977. But the DGCA, which has already denied permission for an aircraft aged 25 years, is unlikely to consider the proposal to fly in a 40-year-old plane. Further, documents reveal that Piper was purchased by Agni Aviation Consultants, Bengaluru for $9,27,000 in 2009.