Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA Jitu Patwari resorted to spreading fake news today to criticise prime minister Narendra Modi. In a tweet posted on 1st August afternoon, the former Minister alleged that while Railways is being sold, PM Modi is travelling in a luxurious aircraft. Posting the interiors of a luxurious cabin of an aircraft, Jitu Patwari said, ‘even though the PM comes from a tea seller background, he will make India a world leader only if we give him better facilities’.
He also added, ‘a view of the interiors of the plane’, suggesting that the image shows the interiors of PM Modi’s aircraft.
Although the image shows a very luxurious looking interiors of an aircraft, a quick image search on the Internet busted the lies of the Congress leader. Because, the image that Jitu Patwari used to allege that PM Modi is flying in a luxurious plane, is actually taken from the website of Deer Jet, a chartered flight operator. The image shows the 787 Dream Jet, an Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet that has been configured as a luxurious business jet by the company. At the time of its launch in 2016, it was known as the only privately owned Boeing 787, which was not used for scheduled commercial flights.
A video of the jet shot during its display at Dubai Air show 2017 can been watched below, and it is clear that this business jet has no relation with PM Modi or India.
The Prime Minister of India currently uses a Boeing 747 operated by Air India for his long-distance international travel. For shorter distances by PM and other VVIPs, the Indian Air Force operates three Boeing Business Jets. The Air India Boeing 747 planes are known as Air India One, with the call sign AIC001, when the PM is flying.
As the Boeing 747 planes are aging, the government of India had selected the Boeing 777-300 (Extended Range) as replacement for international travel by PM, President and other VVIPs. These two are not new acquisitions, but from the excessive purchase of aircraft made for Air India during the UP government. The UPA govt had purchased much more then need number of planes for both Air India mand India Airlines, which is one of the primary reason of the current unviable stage of Air India which has been merged with Indian Airlines.
Air India had purchased 12 Boeing 777s, out of which two were chosen for VVIP services and sent back to USA to retrofitting equipment and facilities needed for such service. The planes have undergone significant modifications since then, and one of them is scheduled to be delivered later this month, while the other one will arrive in the next month. The planes will have state-of-the-art missile defence systems and Self-Protection Suites (SPS), apart from communications facilities similar to the systems available on the Air Force One, the aircraft used by American president.
Current Boeing 747 jets of Air India used by the PM were regular passenger jets, and that’s why they do not have such advanced facilities. The new planes are being specifically customised for VVIP travel, and as they need not carry large number of passengers like regular commercial flights, it is expected that the Boeing 777s will provide better comfort to its passengers as compared to regular commercial flights. But images of interiors of the new Air India One planes are not available yet, the image used by Jitu Patwari is not from those planes.
The claim that Railways is being sold is also completely false. The Indian Railways has decided to allow private operators to run passenger trains on its network, but that does not mean the Railways has been sold. The railway infrastructure like tracks, signalling, stations continue to be owned by Indian Railways, while private operators only run trains using them, just like private airlines and bus operators run from govt owned airports and bus depots. Private companies already run freight trains on Indian Railways network, and now that has been extended to passenger trains.