CHENNAI:Good news! After two months of back-and-forth tussling, the airport has finally thrown open the car lane adjoining the Domestic Arrival Terminal. Nearly a year after it was closed for vehicular traffic, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the traffic police opened the road for all vehicles from the afternoon of May 1.
“It took a long time to get everything sorted out, but I insisted that we must start allowing passengers’ vehicles and hence the lane is open now,” confirmed Captain Deepak Shastri, airport director. The city airport had come under a lot of criticism when the road that allowed taxis and other vehicles to pick people up as they exited the arrival terminal was shut before Independence Day in 2014.
Later, citing lack of security cover and lots of traffic worries, the police had held off on opening the road and had kept resisting the temptation so far.
“There are a lot of concerns, security-wise, but we have reached a compromise now and the road is currently open,” said a senior police officer at the airport. Things became worse when passenger bodies wrote to the government that VIPs and cinema stars were getting preferential treatment, while the old and the diff-abled were struggling all the way to the parking lot to get to their vehicles.
‘Minor Issues at Airport Being Fixed’
The compromise is that AAI has assured police that they would send their own staff to maintain security cover and usher traffic along the lane. Two police kiosks have been erected at either end for effective monitoring as well. Signage indicating that the road is open is yet to go up, but that will happen in the next few days, said Shastri.
MoS for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, who was transiting through Chennai en route to Puducherry, told the media that all the “minor issues at the airport” were being fixed and funds for the same are being released. He also assured that the privatisation process would not mean that the control or ownership of the airport would be handed over to the private player, as AAI would still be overseeing the running of the airport.
Previously, there had been several complaints about not being allowed to use the lane.