The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh each to five helicopter operators carrying pilgrims to Kedarnath shrine for flouting safety rules and not maintaining proper flying records.
The regulator also suspended officials from two other operators for three months.
According to the DGCA, an audit was conducted in June following an incident in which a chopper carrying pilgrims to the high-altitude shrine made a rough landing on May 30.
Officials said that discrepancies and infractions were discovered during the audit.
The DGCA them formed a team for the spot check of choppers involved in shuttle operations in Kedarnath after the incident.
After the spot checks, serious violations came to light, prompting the regulator to conduct a detailed audit of all operators undertaking the shuttle operations.
The audit took place from June 13 to 16.
It disclosed serious violations including five operators were found not maintaining correct flying records in their respective helicopter Technical Log Books.
In addition to the five operators, two others were also found to have violated the provisions of the Joint SOP promulgated by the DGCA.
Show Cause notices (SCNs) were issued to thr seven operators involved in the violations.
On receipt of replies, a personal hearing was granted, and after due deliberations enforcement action was recommended and approved, the same was issued to all seven operators.
“For all the five operators involved in incorrect maintenance of flying records, a penalty of Five Lakh Rupees was awarded respectively; while for the two additional operators involved in violation of provisions of Joint SOP, suspension of their respective Director Operations was awarded for a period of 03 months each. Consequent to the enforcement actions taken by DGCA, the remainder part of the yatra flying till the arrival of monsoons was free from any adverse incidents,” said a senior DGCA official.