DEHRADUN: Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the safety of flights operated from Pantnagar to Pithoragarh and Ghaziabad to Pantnagar, the Uttarakhand High Court on Friday issued a notice to Uttarakhand state government seeking reply over alleged irregularities in these operations.
Sandeep Tiwari, counsel for the petitioner told TNIE, "The state government has been granted three weeks of time to respond over the issue."
Ganesh Upadhyay, a resident of Haldwani city of Nainital district has filed the PIL alleging that the flight operations against the norms laid down by the respondents and is in violation of Aircraft Act, Rules and Civil Aviation Requirement Rule. The petition stated that due to inconsistent flights from Pantnagar and Pithoragarh, passengers and tourist are facing a lot of inconveniences. He also added that the inconsistent flight schedule managed by the respondents is adversely affecting the tourism of the Kumaun region.
The petition stated that certain steps are indispensable to promote native as well as international tourism and overhauling of air services in the region requires immediate attention. The flights are in pathetic condition and works need to be carried out in war footing for the promotion of tourism in hill stations.
The petitioner also alleged that the schedule passenger permit given to Heritage Aviation is in violation of Air transport circular 1 of 1997 which provide for the procedure to be followed for grant of permits and the various requirements which an applicant has to fulfil for obtaining the permit.
"The issuance of a permit is dependent upon the applicant demonstrating an adequate organisation, method of control and supervision of flight operations, training programme and maintenance arrangement consistent with the nature and extent of operations specified," said the PIL.
The petitioner also alleged that the Heritage Aviation does not fulfil the qualification to be registered as an aircraft company as per the provision of Rule15 of Aircraft Rules 1937. Thus the certificate of airworthiness is liable to be cancelled. He also mentioned that on February 9, this year the door of a flight opened mid-air-soon after its takeoff from Pantnagar. Following the accident, flights were cancelled on the route. Operations resumed between Pithoragarh and Dehradun on September 13 but Pantnagar was excluded.
He added that the Heritage Aviation has started operating the Beechcraft Air 350, a commercial nine-seater flight on the Hindon-Pithoragarh route on 11 October 2019 but on 15th October 2019, a wheel on the aircraft’s left side got jammed while landing. Heritage Aviation thereafter had cancelled all commercial flight operation between Naini Saini airport of Pithoragarh, Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun and Hindon airport of NCR on October 10, 2019, citing a technical fault.
Stating these two incidents, the petitioner alleged that this shows callous attitude of the Heritage Aviation Company. "As per rule 11 of Aircraft Act 1934 whoever willfully flies any Aircraft in such a manner as to cause danger to any person or to any property on land or water or in the air shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to a (two years, or with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees) or with both," said the petition.