A Right to Information reply has stated that it cost more than Rs 29.41 crore to use Indian Air Force aircraft to ferry newly minted Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes after the Centre scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016, PTI reported on Sunday. The Air Force said it used its ultra modern C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules to transport the notes from security printing presses and mints to locations across India.

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The decision to invalidate overnight 86% of the currency in circulation meant that new notes had to be released across the country immediately.

In its reply to retired Air Force Commodore Lokesh Batra, the military branch said it undertook 91 sorties to transport the currency notes. The Air Force has billed the government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd.

Batra said the government should have used civil transport aircraft instead. “I am of the opinion that the government should have avoided using defence assets and instead could have easily requisitioned the services of civil transport aircraft,” Batra told PTI. “This situation could have been avoided, had the government fully prepared itself before making the announcement to demonetise currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8, 2016.”