Raipur airport terminal: Three lanes 'encroached' for comfort of VIPs, two left for common fliers

People continue to suffer a lot, particularly during summer months, walking some 300 metres to reach their parked vehicles when they arrive at the airport.
Three lanes under the shade at airport terminal earmarked for VIP vehicles. Two lanes (without shades) are meant for common fliers.
Three lanes under the shade at airport terminal earmarked for VIP vehicles. Two lanes (without shades) are meant for common fliers.Photo | Express

RAIPUR: At Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur, one often witnesses how the ‘VIP culture’ is being blatantly enforced by "intrusion" on three out of the five lanes meant for pick-up and drop outside the main terminal, leading to congestion and adding to the anguish for the common air travellers.

There are five lanes meant for all vehicles arriving at the domestic airport serving the Chhattisgarh state. But the three lanes close to the terminal under the shade often remain occupied or deliberately earmarked for the vehicles either of senior government officials or convoy accompanying the VIPs.

Ironically this practice has been continuing for years. Police personnel, often seen deployed at the entrance, ensure vehicle of common fliers do not enter the three "VIP" lanes.

“This is an unauthorised invading of the three pick-up and drop lanes for VIP category persons and government officials. Such arrangement as reserved lanes for VIPs is against the spirit of Indian Constitution which talks about equal treatment of everyone before the law with no discrimination on any ground. Nowhere such unjustified exercise for VIPs are seen”, said Sanjay Singh Thakur, president of Chhattisgarh RTI Activist Association. 

Several senior citizens, pregnant women, physically challenged and children continue to suffer a lot, particularly during summer months, walking some 300 metres to reach their parked vehicles when they arrive at the airport.

A senior officer of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in Raipur airport said there is no such nomenclature existing as VIP or VVIP lanes at the airport anywhere.

“Such unauthorised facilitation practice being followed in Raipur airport creates congestion and inconvenience. It is enforced by the local administration and not by us. All the five lanes are meant for everyone. AAI never promotes VIP culture at airports. Many times during the VIP visit, the convoy remains standing at the airport lanes for 1.5 hours. I have asked the administration to let a convoy enter the terminal lane just five minutes before the arrival of any VIP”, the officer told TNIE and further added that the administration should stop encouraging VIP culture and ensure ease for all airport passengers.

Once former union aviation minister Jayant Sinha said there is no “VIP culture” prevalent across Indian airports except for the leeway granted to certain categories of VIPs and VVIPs only for security (checks) reasons.

A proposal for creating two additional pick-up/drop lanes has been recently approved for Raipur airport by the Planning Directorate AAI Delhi and the work will start after a tender process.

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