//BJP MLA gets himself a Bell 407 chopper

BJP MLA gets himself a Bell 407 chopper

‘It’ll help me avoid poor roads and travel faster to help people’

Usman Merchant, Mumbai Mirror,  Friday, May 19, 2006

 Bangalore: Fed up with the poor condition of roads in his constituency, an MLA from Karnataka has brought a single-engine Bell 407 helicopter for Rs 11.5 crore to be able to travel and “help attend to the problems of my voters”.

Anil Lad, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Kudligi, is the youngest owner of a Bell helicopter in India.

Lad says the chopper will help him reach out to the people in his constituency, which is part of the backward Bellary district in central Karnataka. "My house is about 70 km from my constituency. Given the condition of roads in the district, it takes me three hours to reach there in my car. The chopper will be a big help in attending to the problems of my voters," Lad told Mumbai Mirror.

The six-seater is the first Bell 407 to be assembled by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) unit in Bangalore. Last week, the aircraft was delivered to Lad.

In all, there are 19 Bell 407s in India with 32-year-old Lad being the youngest in the list of persons who own this aircraft.

Lad is also the first MLA in the state to own a helicopter.

Apart from public service, the legislator will use the aircraft to manage his mining business. Lad owns the VSL Mining Company in the neighbouring Sandur constituency.

He has constructed a helipad near his house, one at his farmhouse and another near his mine. He pays his pilot Rs 1.5 lakh a month to fly him around in the 407. "Initially, I had thought of buying a jet. But the runway for a jet would require a lot of space, so I opted for a chopper," says Lad who shot to fame around the time the BJP joined hands with the JD(S) and in which the MLA played a crucial role.