‘Stop using old aircraft, give soldiers quality equipment’

Sakal Times
Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pune: Rajendra Barpatte, father of Flight Lieutenant Kunal Barpatte, who was onboard IAF transport aircraft AN-32, carrying 29 persons, that went missing over Bay of Bengal in July last year, on Saturday took a dig at politicians for taking mileage from the sacrifices of our soldiers for
political gains.

Barpatte was speaking after he and his wife Vidya were felicitated by members of Sainik Mitra Parivar at the Kasba Ganpati temple on the occasion of Bhaubeej.

Pune: Rajendra Barpatte, father of Flight Lieutenant Kunal Barpatte, who was onboard IAF transport aircraft AN-32, carrying 29 persons, that went missing over Bay of Bengal in July last year, on Saturday took a dig at politicians for taking mileage from the sacrifices of our soldiers for
political gains.

Barpatte was speaking after he and his wife Vidya were felicitated by members of Sainik Mitra Parivar at the Kasba Ganpati temple on the occasion of Bhaubeej.

The disappearance of the aircraft, which was on a weekly tour from Chennai to Port Blair, has left behind more questions than answers in the minds of the family members of those onboard the aircraft, which is untraceable till now.

“It’s been months since my son went missing but he has not been found. The government does not have equipment which can search 400 metres deep inside the sea. The use of old aircraft should be banned. There are aircraft, which are over 30 years old. Soldiers should be given high-quality equipment. Politicians should stop playing with their lives for political gains,” said Barpatte, who is a retired scientist from the Central Institute of Road Transport. His wife Vidya is a homemaker. The Barpatte family lives in Nigdi.

Flt Lt Kunal Barpatte (27) was a navigating officer with the 33 Squadron of the IAF, which is a transport squadron under the Southern Air Command in Tamil Nadu. Following the incident, a massive search operation was conducted over Bay of Bengal by the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard.

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