Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 22:

Odisha government today suspended an executive engineer holding him largely responsible for the Chief Minister’s helicopter hovering for over 45 minutes over Kotpad skies due to faulty coordinates.

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The state government suspended Biranchi Mohanty, an executive engineer in Works Department for dereliction of duty and furnishing wrong longitude; latitude details, Department Secretary Nalinikant Pradhan informed media.

“I became the victim of typographical error of officials. I will apprise the details to my higher-ups. The data was prepared as per December 28 tour plan,” suspended official Biranchi Mohanty said in his reaction to the development.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was on a visit to Koraput district today for laying foundation stone for new projects and handing out welfare benefits to beneficiaries at Jeypore and Kotpad.

Earlier in the day, the chopper carrying Patnaik and other officials landed at Jeypore on time. After the official programme, the chopper left the helipad at around 12.35 pm. However, it did not land at the Kotpad helipad on scheduled time at 12.55 pm fuelling speculations of the flight losing contact with the ground staff.

The officials went into tizzy and made frantic efforts to guide the flight to the predetermined path. They came to know that it deviated from the path due to wrong coordinates provided to the pilot from Koraput. A revised input made the job easier and helped the helicopter to land at Kotpad after over 45 minutes of delay.

Koraput SP Charan Singh Meena had informed media that the matter would be probed and action would be initiated against the erring officials.