Chief minister pays homage to IAF martyrs

TEZPUR, Feb 12: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the Indian Air force (IAF) who sacrificed their lives while carrying out rescue operation in Arunachal.
The CM unveiled the bust of the IAF crew who lost their lives when the helicopter they were in met with an accident, killing all on board, near Sagalee in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017, during a rescue operation.
The helicopter was evacuating people stranded due to massive landslides caused by heavy rainfall that year.
Paying tributes to wing commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon, flight lieutenant Pramod Kumar Singh and sergeant Rajendra Yashwant Gujjar, Khandu said “the people of Arunachal Pradesh will remember the supreme sacrifice made by these heroes of the IAF.”
He also remembered the supreme sacrifice of the state police official who was also on duty in the ill-fated chopper.
“The true sons of the soil were never deterred by the inclement weather that came their way. They airlifted hundreds of stranded people of our state to safer locations before the tragedy struck like a bolt from nowhere. The survivors who were airlifted by these heroes are still in shock as they couldn’t even thank their saviours for their valorous services. The people of Arunachal Pradesh join in mourning the sacrifice of the great soldiers of our country. They were true patriots indeed,” Khandu said.
He informed that, as a mark of respect to the bravehearts who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, the Arunachal Pradesh government gave Rs 50 lakhs each to their next of kin as ex gratia.
He said the state government has substantially enhanced the rate of ex gratia payment to central armed forces and central paramilitary forces operating in Arunachal “as a mark of respect and gratitude to them for sacrificing everything in service of the nation.”
The chief minister also expressed gratitude to the IAF for helping the state during crises and extending support whenever sought for.
Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Air Commander Tejpal Singh, and Chief Secretary Satya Gopal were present on the occasion. (CMO)