In a country where there has never been a dearth of people shedding copious tears for ‘poor’ farmers, Janardhan Bhoir, a farm entrepreneur from Vadape village in District Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, has bought a helicopter for Rs 30 crore. He says he bought the luxurious vehicle to avoid traffic snarls he would face during his business-related travels in the state and other parts of the country.
Inhabitants of Vadape flocked to the helipad built for the helicopter in the village last week when it arrived after a trial flight last Sunday. Bhoir said he had got permission from the district magistrate of Thane and police commissioner to bring the helicopter and develop the helipad on a three-acre plot.
Perhaps a role model for farmers across the country, this one would keep the helicopter permanently available at the helipad 15 March onwards. He has set up a workshop to maintain the helicopter at the helipad.
While rich farmers mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh are demanding non-stop state support in the purchase of their crops, picketing and even rioting, an uncomplaining Bhoir has even hired a pilot, two engineers, and five guards. Bhoir said he would pay salaries of around Rs 10 lakh to them monthly.
“Even if I have to travel to Mumbai [over 50 km away], my entire day is wasted because of the snarls. I also travel to other states at least four times a month. The traffic snarls and the time consumption are the reasons why I decided to buy the helicopter,” said Bhoir, who belongs to a family of farmers. He lives in the village with his wife and their two sons.
The family owns 50 ac of farmlands, where the farmers in kinship grow rice and vegetables. They run a dairy and own 300 cows too. “These cows are not available here locally and to buy them I have to travel to Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Haryana often. The helicopter will save me time and help me reach these places conveniently,” Bhoir, who is also a five-time village head, said.
Bhoir is involved also in the real estate business. The farmer has leased 50 ac of land to build warehouses. He owns several godowns as well.
Besides its power loom industry, Bhiwandi is known also for godowns.