Dorjee Khandu

19 Mar 1955
30 Apr 2011
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Dorjee Khandu (19 March 1955 – 30 April 2011) was an Indian politician belonging to the Indian National Congress. He was the sixth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. He was reelected in 2009 general elections for the second term as the chief minister. Khandu died in a helicopter crash near Sela Pass on 30 April 2011.

Dorjee Khandu was born in Gyangkhar Village in Tawang district, North East Frontier Agency, India to Leki Dorjee. He belongs to the Monpa tribe.

Dorjee Khandu was in the Indian Army Intelligence Corps and worked there for more than seven years. He received a gold medal for the meritorious intelligence services rendered during Bangladesh War. Later, he was engaged in social activities for village people of Tawang District and looked after their welfare up till 1980. In 1980, he was selected uncontested as the First ASM and worked in same capacity till 1983.

1982: Chairman, Culture and Co-operative Societies in those years. Due to enthusiastic efforts, cultural and co-operative societies established in Tawang and lead the cultural troupe representing Arunachal Pradesh in Delhi for ASIAD in 1982 and won silver medal for good performance.
1983–87: Elected uncontested as District Vice President, West Kameng District Zilla Parishad 1983–87.
1987–1990: Engaged in intensive social works and brought water supply, electricity, communication, schools, religious institutions etc. to far flung villagers from 1987 to 1990.

In March 1990, he was elected uncontested to the First Legislative Assembly of the State of Arunachal Pradesh from Thingbu-Mukto constituency. In March 1995, he was re-elected to Second Legislative Assembly of the State of Arunachal Pradesh from the same constituency. He became the Minister of State for Cooperation from 21 March 1995.

On 21 September 1996, he became the Cabinet Minister for Animal Husbandry & Veterinary, Dairy Development.
In 1998, he was the Minister of Power from 1998–2006.
In October 1999, he was elected to third Legislative Assembly of the State of Arunachal Pradesh. He was the Minister for Mines, Relief & Rehabilitation from 15 October 2002 to 27 July 2003.
On 28 July 2003, he became the Minister for Relief & Rehabilitation and Disaster Management.
In 2004, he was re-elected unopposed from Mukto constituency in the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections and became the minister for Power, NCER, and relief and rehabilitation.

On 9 April 2007, he became the Chief Minister of the state, replacing Gegong Apang. In 2009, he was again elected unopposed from the same constituency and sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state on 25 October 2009.

On 30 April 2011, the helicopter carrying Khandu and four other people on a trip from Tawang to Itanagar disappeared. On 2 May, the aerial search for Khandu was halted due to inclement weather, necessitating a move to ground search by the Indian Army, police, SSB and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Personnel were searching a heavily forested 66 square kilometer section of West Kameng district, where satellites detected possible plane remnants. Witnesses said they heard a large explosion on the morning of 30 April.

On 4 May 2011, at around 11 am, remnants of the crashed helicopter were found by a group of tribals near Tawang district. Although the crash has been blamed on the poor condition of the helicopter, a single engine four seater Eurocopter B8 provided by Pawan Hans, the helicopter was only put into service in 2010.

P Chidambaram, Home Minister of India confirmed the news of the death of Dorjee Khandu on the morning of 5 May. Earlier in a briefing Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna said he is deeply pained by the demise of Dorjee Khandu.

The last rites of the Chief Minister were performed in his native village, Gyangkhar, in Tawang district as per Monpa Buddhist traditions.

Dorjee Khandu had four wives and has five sons and two daughters.

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