Maharashtra signs Rs. 35,000cr deal with India's first individual aircraft-maker
The Maharashtra government has inked a Rs. 35,000cr deal with India's first individual aircraft maker Amol Yadav to set up an indigenous factory in Palghar. The project will create around 10,000 jobs, Yadav said. Curiously, his revolutionary 'VT-NMD' aircraft named after CM Devendra Fadnavis and PM Narendra Modi, that got approval from the DGCA three months ago, still hasn't been tested.
The plane took six years and Rs. 5cr to build
Yadav shot to fame when he displayed the VT-NMD at a Make in India event in February'16. He had started building the six-seater on his terrace in Kandivali in 2011. It cost him his house and another Rs. 4cr. There were several bureaucratic hurdles, but Fadnavis gave it a push after noticing Yadav at the February'16 event. It was finally registered in November.
All about the individually made indigenous six-seater aircraft
The VT-NMD made by Yadav, a Jet Airways commander since 2005, weighs 210kg, is 10.8ft high and 31ft long. The aluminium plane can fly at heights of up to 13,000ft, climb 1,500ft/minute, and move at top speeds of 185 knots with a range of 2,000 km. Retired Air Marshal Murali Sundaram and a team of IIT-B professors guided Yadav on its making.
The small indigenous aircraft would help create jobs, boost tourism
Apart from creating jobs, Yadav's plane would help boost regional connectivity, especially among smaller airports where 40- or 70-seater planes are not viable due to low passenger traffic. Connecting these smaller cities would help promote tourism. So far, no Indian company has built such aircraft.
Rs. 35,000cr to cover cost of building planes, maintaining facilities
Under the MoU signed between Maharashtra and Yadav, his Thrust Aircraft Pvt Ltd will be given 155 acres of land at Kelwe in Palghar to build small six-seater and 19-seater aircraft. The approved Rs. 35,000cr is not just for building them, but also for ancillary staff. In the first phase, they will build a prototype 19-seater and three similar planes at Rs. 200cr.
Targets: 1,300 planes, 10,000 jobs
The eventual target, Yadav says, is to make 600 19-seater planes in the next two-three years "and then take it to 1,300 planes after that." The project also envisions the creation of 10,000 jobs. The government will be responsible for providing necessary funds.
Experts question rationale of the decision behind the agreement
The VT-NMD is expected to undergo test flights in March-April, after installation of some more necessary components. But experts have expressed reservation about the agreement. "Such proposals should have been evaluated by experts and with due diligence," said former Air Force pilot Vipul Saxena. "Even if it was the case of promoting young minds...they should have given similar opportunities to others too," he added.